AUGUSTA, Maine. (WABI) As Maine prepares to celebrate 200 years of statehood in 2020, a commemorative license plate is now on sale to help fund upcoming state celebrations.
Monday, Maine's Secretary of State unveiled the keepsake item for those looking to show their pride in the Pine Tree State.
"Our vision is to have celebrations in every town throughout the state, to use the network of local arts organizations, libraries, every town has a local historical society- use all of them and work with them to make it clear to everybody what our heritage is, appreciate it. And also to think about where we're going in the future, where we want to be, as well as where we've been," said Peter Merrill of the Maine State Cultural Affairs Council.
Merrill joined Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap, Miss Maine Katie Elliott, and others in unveiling the Maine Bicentennial Commemorative License Plate in Augusta.
"On March 15, 1820, we became a state and were admitted into the Union. So this is a big deal. It's been 200 years. We have a commission that's been formed by the legislature," said Dunlap.
That commission is made up of about 20 lawmakers who will soon begin developing a program of events for 2020 to celebrate statewide Maine's history, heritage, and culture.
Senator Bill Diamond is a member of the commission and was Secretary of State in 1992 when Maine was gearing up for its 175th anniversary celebration.
"Back then the excitement was 'can't wait for the 200th- the bicentennial.' That was what it was all about and I think that enthusiasm, even 25 years ago, we're going to see again," said Senator Diamond, (D).
The plates cost $25 and are on sale now at each of the state's Bureau of Motor Vehicles branches.
The state seal's 'Dirigo' motto and north star were used to design the plate to highlight the tradition of leadership in the state.
"We took that lead element from the top of the seal and made that sort of the symbol of our bicentennial. It talks a lot about who we are without incorporating the entire seal," said Dunlap.
Motorists can display the plate from January 1st of 2018 to December 31st of 2020. The fee will fund future festivities that the legislative commission will be planning for over the next couple of years.