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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16 thoughts on “I’ve Got Moxie, Do You??

    • Thanks Julie-Ann, and thanks for visiting my blog! I surely did enjoy my day in Lisbon Falls and am sure I will return to further explore the area minus the crowds. I moved to Maine from the Philadelphia area ten years ago ~ seeking a slower pace of life and the wonderful sense of “Main Street” life (per your blog) life in Maine “off season” offers.

  1. I am so curious to taste this stuff. I will look for it and put my husband, nephew and brother on the trail to find some. I’ll be in Philadelphia this coming week…I’ll ask and perhaps report back via a comment. 🙂

    • Unfortunately you will not find Moxie in Philadelphia Georgette. The purchase would need to be in northern New England directly, or an online (and probably very expensive) purchase. I think that means you will just have to come to Maine Georgette! You would love it! In the interim, say hi to Philadelphia for me, enjoy a REAL cheese steak sandwich (the bread means everything). Enjoy your trip!!

    • Okay Barb, the words “Road Trip” sparked an idea. We’ll do a Moxie Seminar as part of a Bloggers Gastronomical Tour of Maine. Day 1: we could go out on a lobster boat to see how the little crustaceans are harvested, then seek out the best Clam Chowdah and Lobstah Roll in Maine, followed by Day 2: “best use of blueberries.” On Day 3: the Moxie Seminar with a field trip to Lisbon Falls. We can visit Frank Anicetti at Kennebec Fruit Company and sample a Moxie Float (Moxie ice cream w/Moxie). We could throw in Acadia National Park to catch the first sunrise in the eastern United States and a lighthouse tour. I think we’ve got an idea we can work with Barb!

  2. I did not know that was the origin of the word – fascinating. But Moxie ice-cream sounds kinda, I don’t know, not so great. Did you have a lot of fun?

    • I did have fun Peg. The uniqueness of both Moxie and this annual community celebration captivated my attention (as did the man walking a goat on a dog leash ~ who drank a bottle of Moxie for the TV cameras!). Actually, the Moxie ice cream was excellent, a kind of mild root beery kind of flavor. Now if you want to talk about nasty ice cream… I have had lobster ice cream! Yes, with real little pieces of lobster mixed in… a bit salty for my taste…

  3. It just so happens that my hubby and I are planning a trip to Maine in 2 weeks. This sounds like a place I’ll have to visit, given I’m a huge Steven King fan, and the Moxie Museum appears to be a ‘must-see’ spot. Going for the map…

    • Thanks for stopping by and commenting Tar-Buns. Enjoy your trip to Maine. I’ll be anxious to read your blog about it!! Be sure to try the moxie ice cream as well. The soda can be found in grocery stores as well so you can stock up to take home…

  4. Loved this, Carol! I know you didn’t mention Connecticut as being one of the New England states whose residents are strong independent spirits, but I like to think we have that kind of personality, too. Your blog made me miss New England even more.

    • Unfortunately most of what I know about CT is that I-84 goes on forever crossing the state getting from Philly to Maine. However, now that I think about it, I have stopped in Hartford to visit the Mark Twain house and the Harriet Beecher Stowe house ~ neighbors. I do remember them saying that many writers settled in the Hartford area. Those are definitely strong independent spirits, as are you Susan!! You know, I’ll bet Moxie would have healed that foot twice as fast!

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