PORTLAND, ME (July 11, 2012)– Nearly a thousand people gathered at Payson Park earlier this week to welcome a group of bike riders who rode 2,300 miles from Miami, Florida to Portland, Maine as part of Cabot Creamery Cooperative’s 2012 Community Tour, a two-month long celebration of volunteers, community and cooperatives. The riders were greeted by throngs of well wishers, family and friends and were accompanied by riders from throughout the greater Portland area as they rode into Payson Park on Saturday, July 7, the International Day of Cooperatives, as deemed by the United Nations.
The Portland event marked the culmination of more than eight weeks of Community Tour celebrations all along the east coast that featured eight major events in cities including: Miami, Charleston Durham, Fredericksburg, Wilmington, New York City, Providence, and Portland, as well as dozens of smaller stops along the entire route.
The Community Tour’s focus on community, volunteers and cooperatives was deemed a great success by Cabot, it’s sponsors, partners, elected officials, and the thousands of people who attended the events all along the way.
“We set out to accomplish several goals through the Community Tour,” said Roberta MacDonald, Cabot’s Senior Vice President of Marketing. “But we accomplished so much more than we ever imagined. We’re a farm-family owned cooperative so we wanted to honor our cooperative roots by celebrating the United Nation’s International Year of Cooperatives with a bike tour utilizing the East Coast Greenway, a developing 3,000-mile long trail system that runs from Key West, Florida to Canada. And we wanted to honor the communities we serve, and celebrate volunteerism and all the good work volunteers do every day to make the world a better place. So we engaged East Coast Greenway Alliance (ECGA), and other major sponsors including: AARP Create The Good, Credit Union National Association (CUNA), HandsOn Network, Marriott, and National Life Group, along with hundreds of other non-profit, volunteer and civic organizations, to join with us on the Tour. All along the way, we spread the good word about cooperatives, celebrated communities, and honored volunteers for the work they do to make this a better world,” MacDonald explained.
The “Celebrate Portland” event focused on getting the whole family active—in fun ways. The event featured booths, activities and organizations for everyone from kids to adults including: East Coast Greenway, Portland Trails, Maine Island Trails, the Bike Coalition of Maine, the Maine Commission for Community Service, AARP Create the Good, Healthy Portland, Fit Planet, Five County Credit Union, Ripple Effect, New England Dairy Promotion Board, Happy Mainers, Portland VFW, The Patrick Dempsey Center For Cancer Hope and Healing, United Way of Greater Portland, and more. Portland Sea Dog’s mascot “Slugger” was on hand to meet and greet attendees, Pihcintu Multinational Children's Chorus and the Extraordinary Rendition Band performed throughout the day. Attendees enjoyed the food that makes Maine great—lobster rolls from the Maine Lobster Festival, fried clam cakes from the Yarmouth Clam Festival, and shrimp harvested by Port Clyde Fresh Catch, a fisherman’s cooperative.
Congresswoman Chellie Pingree (D-Maine) issued a Congressional Record statement that will be read on the floor of Congress acknowledging Cabot and the Community Tour, and recognized Cabot for its leadership role in the world of cooperatives and as an integral part of the state’s dairy industry.
Three bike riders, Cathy and Myron Skott, and Bob Spiegelman, rode the entire distance of the 2,300-mile Tour.
“We had an amazing time and we feel so honored to have been a part of the Community Tour,” said Myron Skott. “We’re a little tired but we’d do it all over again if we have the chance!” Myron’s wife Cathy agrees, and added, “We met so many wonderful people all along the way and we enjoyed riding the East Coast Greenway – it’s truly a great trail and we look forward to seeing more of it as new sections are added every day.”
Representatives from Athletes For A Fit Planet were on hand to ensure the event was as “green as possible” and had minimal impact on the environment by separating and recycling all event-generated trash and waste. The eco-focused group handled nearly a quarter ton of waste comprised of 11.11% compost, 44.4% waste-to-energy items, and 44.44 single sort waste that vastly reduced the event’s carbon footprint on the environment. Including waste-to-energy, the Celebrate Portland event was zero-waste.
Hannaford did its part to ensure the event remained as eco-friendly as possible as it provided free reusable water bottles and fresh ice-cold water throughout the day to the crowd of nearly 1,000 attendees.
Perhaps no one can summarize the Tour better than those who attended the events all along the way. Comments ranged from, “We had so much fun!” to “I learned so much about cooperatives and what they do!” to “Honoring volunteers is so critical because they do so much good but they never seem to get credit for all they do.”
The 2012 Community Tour was created by Cabot Creamery Cooperative and fellow sponsors and supporters, including 2012 International Year of Cooperatives, AARP Create The Good, Credit Union National Association (CUNA), East Coast Greenway Alliance (ECGA), HandsOn Network, Marriott, and National Life Group.
FOR MORE INFORMATION visit www.cabotcommunitytour.coop
FOR MORE PHOTOS FROM THE PORTLAND EVENT visit:
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