Writing into the Light…

Finding my way with words…


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I’ve Got Moxie, Do You??

Meet Frank Anicetti, arguably the best known person in Lisbon Falls, Maine.  He also answers to  “Mr. Moxie” or “Mayor of Moxieland.”  Frank is the third generation owner of Kennebec Fruit Company on the corner of Rt. 196 and Main Street in Lisbon Falls.

Lisbon Reporter

Back in the day, when a destined to be famous local high school student named Stephen King frequented Kennebec Fruit, they actually sold things like oranges and apples!  If you have read King’s recent time travel novel 11-22-63, then you have met Frank, at least in the

Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

literary sense.  You have also visited Kennebec Fruit.  Nowadays, Kennebec Fruit is where you travel to find all things Moxie.  Kennebec Fruit Company is a synonym for The Moxie Museum.   If you are lucky, you will venture in that direction during the weekend of the second Saturday in July where you will find community living in Maine at it’s best ~ the Moxie Festival.  Last weekend I fulfilled an item on my bucket list and aimed the old Subaru north on I-95 toward Lisbon Falls early in the morning to arrive in time for the Moxie Festival Parade.

Residents of the New England states of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont are known for their strong-willed, independent spirits.  It is a natural fit that Moxie was invented by Dr. Austin Thompson of Unity, Maine, who was working in Massachusetts at

the time, and is now produced in New Hampshire.  Moxie is the official soft drink of Maine (the only state to have an official soft drink).  Moxie was originally known as “Beverage Moxie Nerve Food” a patented nostrum which had to be dispensed a spoonful at a time.  To take advantage of the new and growing soft drink market Thompson put it on the soft drink market in 1884.  Moxie became the nation’s first mass-marketed soft drink.  It actually outsold Coca-Cola in 1920.

The taste of Moxie is as strong-willed and independent as the New Englanders who savor

every bottle and can they can get their hands on, and celebrate the “distinctively different” beverage each year with it’s own festival.  Early advertising slogans included “Learn to drink Moxie.”  Tom Watman remembers, “when I was a kid, they’d give me Moxie mixed with milk, and they’d tell me, when I was older, I could have the real stuff.” (Yankee May/June 2011)

Thanks to successful marketing in the early years by Frank Archer the word “moxie” took on a life of it’s own.  Having “moxie” is similar to having “chutzpah.”  It means having an uncommon degree of spirit or nerve.  If you have the nerve and strength to get the job done, you’ve got “Moxie!”

The “other Frank” Anicetti, as a local businessman, initiated the concept of the “Moxie Festival” thirty years ago to inject new life into the local community’s summer festival.  The annual Moxie Festival grows larger every year.  It has been estimated to draw up to 40,000 people seeking “moxie” in their Halloween orange shirts each year.  Kennebec Fruit Company/The Moxie Museum is the hub of Moxie Festival T-shirts and memorabilia, Moxie tasting and best of all partaking of Frank Anicetti’s Moxie ice cream.  The ice cream alone is worth a trip to Lisbon Falls, Maine!!

 

There were a lot of November 2012 Election Day “Wanna-Be’s” in the Moxie Festival Parade.

 

 

The “I’ve Got Moxie” Award for 2012 is awarded to United States Senator Olympia Snowe.  If “moxie” is the “nerve and strength to get the job done,” then Senator Snowe ~ you’ve definitely got Moxie!!!  Thank you for your years of unfailing service to the residents of Maine and the United States Senate.  You have demonstrated time and again that you have the MOXIE and the courage to always do the right thing.  

 

 

 

 

 

I ask again, Do You Have Moxie???

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July 4th in Ocean Park, Maine

One of the best days of the year, when you live by the sea in a town that originated as a Chautauqua in 1881 is July 4th.  Ocean Park, Maine is one of more than 350 assembly centers generated from the camp meeting movement in the late nineteenth century.  These assemblies were dedicated to self-improvement through religion, education, cultural enlightenment and entertainment and recreation. A few of these communities still exist across America.  While many of the original Chautauquas originated with a link to a specific religious group, those remaining are now non-denominational. One thing most of these assemblies have in common is that they were created near water, sitting within groves of trees and located along the railroad for ease in transportation.

The history of the Chautauqua Movement in America, and the story of those communities that have survived is fascinating.  Take a few minutes to explore this piece of Americana.  The mission of self-improvement and family values is still strong.  In Ocean Park generations come from all across America, Canada and Europe to spend time within the comfort of a town that seems, in many aspects, to be frozen in time.  It is a place that is still guided by a mission and by-laws that were created by a community dedicated to individual growth in education, culture and the examination of moral and ethical beliefs within a recreational environment.  Enjoy some scenes from our traditional Independence Day Parade!!  I hope you had a day full of community as well…

Photos courtesy of the Ocean Park Association.