Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer is Busy at the Raitt
Homestead Farm Museum

By Larry Favinger
Staff Columnist
There is a need for volunteers to help staff two celebrations this summer at the Raitt Homestead Farm Museum.
Lisa Raitt, coordinator of events at the museum, said this week she is looking and hoping for up to 20 people to help with the Eliot Antique Tractor and Engine Show in July and the Celebrate Maine Festival in August.
“They’ll be doing pretty much everything,” she said of the volunteers. “It’s a trial by fire.”
The tractor show is scheduled July 24-26 at the farm on State Road in Eliot. Ideally she would like to have the volunteers in place by July 1.
More than 3,000 visitors are anticipated for the show but “it all depends on the weather,” Ms. Raitt said. Between 600 and 1,000 exhibitors are anticipated, including 300 to 500 tractors.
Ms. Raitt said there would be engines of “all different kinds” in “some pretty unique displays” during the 14th annual show.
The weather is not only a factor impacting the show, but also in the preparation for it. The displays are set up in a large hay field at the 33-acre farm, and in order to be ready the field must be hayed, something that the current spell of rain is preventing.
The funds raised by the Antique Tractor and Engine Show and the Celebrate Maine Festival will benefit the Raitt Homestead Farm Museum.
Ms. Raitt said 100 percent of the money “goes right back into the property” in various forms. She said there are “a lot of buildings we are trying to restore” at the museum and these funds are especially key in the current economic climate.
The land at 2077 State Road was a farm, is a farm, and the property “will never be sold for development or anything,” she said.
The farm was established in 1896 by Charles A. Raitt and for years was one of the finest farms in southern Maine.
There are spaces available for vendors and artisans at both events. The deadline for applications is Aug. 1. Those wishing to volunteer or become part of either or both events can do so by calling (207) 748-3303 or e-mailing Lisa Raitt at
The Celebrate Maine Festival, formerly presented by the Greater York Region Chamber of Commerce, will be held Aug. 8-9 at the farm. The museum and the Chamber were partners in the celebration for four years, “a marriage made in heaven,” Ms. Raitt said. “The groups worked well together.”
This is the first year the celebration will be hosted solely by the museum with the funds raised going totally to it. “It’s perfectly fine for us,” she said. “It’s wonderful revenue for the farm.”
An added event for Celebrate Maine is the Mainely Grillin’ & Chillin’ Country BBQ State Competition sanctioned by the Kansas City BBQ Society and the New England BBQ Society that has been proclaimed the "Official State of Maine BBQ Competition by Governor Baldacci.
This event is a qualifier for the Jack Daniel's Invitational in Lynchburg, Tenn., and the American Royal Invitational in Kansas City, Mo.
Ms. Raitt said there are already 17 teams signed up to compete in this event.
The teams will be competing for over $3,000 in cash and prizes and the title of the 2009 “Mainely Grillin’ and Chillin’ Country BBQ State Competition” Grand Champion.
Photo caption: One big event at the Raitt Homestead Farm Museum this summer is the Eliot Antique Tractor and Engine Show. (Courtesy photo)