IN CONSTANT AWE OF THIS CREATIVE, COLLABORATIVE, CARING COMMUNITY

A Letter of Thanks from Our Town Belfast’s Executive Director, Breanna Pinkham Bebb:

Volunteers Jan Geller, Anne Saggese, and Chris Bitely at the 2017 Auction & Gala sponsored by Maine DaySail

On July 19th I sat down in a quiet corner of the Belfast Boathouse while volunteers were preparing for the Our Town Belfast Auction & Gala. I gathered my thoughts – what do I want to say to our supporters this evening?

As I sketched some notes about our mission to build a healthy economy and happy community in our historic downtown, I thought about the people who make it happen. I realized that before we even opened the doors that night, more than 200 people would have already supported the auction by donating an item or experience, sponsoring the event, volunteering their time on the planning committee, showing up to help set up, purchasing tickets in advance, or decorating the boathouse the day before – with many people contributing in multiple ways. When the cocktail hour and silent auction began at 6:30pm, even more poured in to say, “I’m here to have a great night supporting my downtown and community.” A deep love for Belfast was evident among the attendees and volunteers; one could feel it throughout the room.

The Our Town Belfast Auction & Gala (presented this year by sponsor Maine DaySail and their Schooner Timberwind) is one small (though excellent) piece of the Belfast summer activities puzzle. It’s incredible to see the kind of support that makes things like the Maine Celtic Celebration, Arts in the Park, Rotary Harbor Fest, Belfast Summer Nights, and the Our Town Belfast Street Party, and so many others possible. At Our Town Belfast alone, more than 1000 volunteer hours are contributed on an annual basis toward our projects and events. If one were to do the math citywide, I am sure the numbers would be staggering. Add to that the impact of the dollars contributed by local businesses and residents in donations and sponsorships. The generosity of this community cannot be beat.

Event organizers Claudia Luchetti and Bob MacGregor enjoy a selfie with photographer Jeff Kirlin at the Maine Celtic Celebration this July

What this all amounts to is this: GRATITUDE.

I am personally thankful to live in such a giving community.

As a nonprofit professional, I am thankful to work with so many who believe in the mission of Our Town Belfast and dedicate themselves to making this city a place for families, a place for business, a place for visiting, and a place worth loving with all your heart.

Just a few short weeks after the Our Town Belfast Auction & Gala we were at it again with our annual Street Party. An even bigger volunteer effort is required to pull off this family-focused, all-ages, smoke-free, affordable evening of entertainment that serves to reconnect folks from all over Waldo County and beyond with downtown Belfast. Businesses share their electricity, city workers deliver picnic tables and trash cans to High and Church Streets and hang banners on City Hall, the police department assists with closing the streets and ensuring safety at the event, 40+ people take shifts running rides and information tables, churches and schools provide activities like face painting and a chance to knock beloved teachers and law enforcement officers into the dunk tank. Sponsors donate thousands of dollars to help us keep admission free in our 9th year of hosting the Street Party. The event is a source of great pride among the board and staff at Our Town Belfast because of what it means to locals, and local families especially.

Many of the people reading this likely have had a hand in the Street Party or some summer fun in Belfast, whether by volunteering, donating, or participating. If you haven’t, I invite you to come downtown, reconnect with your community, sit on a blanket and watch the boats in the harbor, walk the Harbor Walk and the new Rail Trail. Enjoy some live music. Support a local business. Show your appreciation to the people, organizations, and businesses that come together to make Belfast such an amazing place to live. Lend a hand and share the love. We’ll do our best at Our Town Belfast to keep it going throughout the year.

Brimming with thanks,
Breanna Pinkham Bebb
Executive Director, Our Town Belfast

PHOTOS OF BELFAST EVENTS BY THE THING OF THE MOMENT PHOTOGRAPHY: Our Town Belfast’s Street Party, Auction & Gala, and Dinner on the Bridge – as well as the Maine Celtic Celebration. Thank you to Jeff Kirlin for capturing so many wonderful Belfast memories this summer.

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