The first indication of Old Hallowell Day appeared in the Kennebec Journal, dated July 19, 1968 – “With Saturday’s weather forecast promising sun, Old Hallowell Day, 1968 promises to be a success.”
This first Day and many more were organized by a group of willing volunteers – Hallowell Improvement Association – which had as their first project the cleaning up of the waterfront. This was so successful with the removal of many loads of trash and the addition of grass, flower beds and herb gardens that the group wanted to show off their work. They decided to have a community celebration day to show the citizens the Water Front Park area that was now ready for their enjoyment.
About twenty-five merchants competed in the antiques flower container and garden contest, beautifying the business area for this occasion, and the entire Water Front Park from the top to the lower end was reserved for artists, hobbyists, demonstrations, collections and other items to show or sell.
The day began at 9:30 with an open house tour of seven homes, Dr. Hubbard’s office and the Durrell workshop. At the Library Col. Vincent Ledew had his collection of 100 lighting devices dating back to 400 B.C. on display. The Hubbard Free Library also showed their collection of Hallowell Books and their historical materials including the original plans of the library.
Mr. and Mrs. Leon Tebbitts opened their home at 164 Water Street in the morning for a premiere showing of the silent screen classic, The Birth of a Nation. The Harlow Art Gallery showed an exhibition of paintings by Lawrence Sisson, a KVAA Members Art Show was featured on the riverfront, and a Children’s Art Show was also featured in the afternoon in the Water Front Park. The Sherry Mike Pottery and Gallery at 19 Pleasant Street had a demonstration in the afternoon. A driftwood display by Richard Day was showing at the Emporium store on Water Street and the Hallowell Association for the Arts sold old-fashioned candy in a booth behind the store. Mrs. Lewis Beers and Mrs. Frank Terry conducted a rug exhibit and demonstration at Bradstreet’s Antiques and the Kennebec Valley Hobbyists had a sale of their crafts at the Crossroads Coffeehouse. The Cox Memorial church served a luncheon and the Ladies Auxiliary of the Hallowell Fire Department in the afternoon did a home baked food sale.
The parade began at 2:15 p.m. with a large representation from the Maine Antique Automobile Association. Many children also participated in the parade in costume with their decorated bicycles and doll carriages.
At 3:30 p.m. Robert Weymouth, “The Flying Farmer” performed stunts over the Kennebec and the riverfront. After this the Hallowell Community Band presented a concert and the prize awards were presented during the band intermission.
The Augusta Players offered cuttings from a French fantasy play entitled, The Madwoman of Chaillot at their clubhouse, the Bodwell building on Middle Street at 4:45 p.m. Thus ended the first “Old Hallowell Day”. In later years as it grew the responsibility of the day was taken over by the
City with volunteer members from the community. Each January the Old Hallowell Day Committee meets to begin planning the next “Old Hallowell Day” which is always held on the third Saturday in July.