Tribute to Frank Anicetti, Mr. Moxie.
Missing Mr. Moxie
As another renown Moxie Festival approaches, ‘Mayor of Moxietown’ Frank Anicetti will be remembered fondly
LISBON — Summer’s arrival is sweet, especially when considering the season’s perceived shortness for anyone living in the far northern reaches of New England. For Moxie fans, summer can only mean one thing — yet another Moxie Festival is waiting at the door, with a trip to what’s become Moxie Central in Lisbon Falls.
On the second Saturday each July, thousands of aficionados descend on the town to pay homage to a unique and distinctly different soft drink with one of Maine’s largest local parades. This is an oddity and a demonstration of the rabid following for an elixir developed 132 years ago by Augustin Thompson, a drink he first called Moxie Nerve Food.
While Thompson may be the originator of Moxie, many regarded one man in Lisbon Falls as the face of the soft drink; that’s why, year after year they returned to what has become the epicenter of the Moxie universe. That man, Frank Anicetti, known as “Mr. Moxie” by legions of Moxie’s most affected followers, is why they found a way to Maine and Lisbon Falls each July and it’s been that way for almost 35 years.
This year will be different, however. Anicetti died in May and the festivities will be without their usual unofficial marshal.
Anicetti was the central player and catalyst in transitioning a sleepy local celebration into the well-known gathering it is today. The town is now a festival destination in the Northeast, with Moxie fans descending on the central Maine town from all over the country and the world.
If you know your Moxie history, you’ll know that it all began with author Frank Potter holding a book signing for his “The Moxie Mystique” at Frank Anicetti’s store in 1982, and again in 1983. In 1984, the Moxie Festival created by some forward-thinking residents gained “official” status, in large measure due to its partnership with the Androscoggin County Chamber of Commerce (now, the LA Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce) and the support of its director at the time, Chip Morrison.
Food trucks are the culinary scene’s hot commodity right now. About a decade ago, they started popping up in major metro areas like Los Angeles and New York City. Today, there are few small and mid-sized cities in America without at least a handful of food trucks regularly out on the streets and set-up in parking lots on any given day.
Truth-be-told, the food truck concept isn’t a new one. These kitchens on wheels have been around for years, once predominantly serving construction sites, factories and other locations where blue-collar workers desiring quick, low-cost food could grab lunch and get back to work on their 30-minute lunch break. White collar locales, like New York’s financial district, had multiple food vendors serving lunchtime clientele.
However, when Roy Choi introduced his gourmet Korean tacos dispensed from his own food truck in Los Angeles in 2008, a whole new era of mobile cuisine had begun. Now, it’s not uncommon to find celebrity chefs slinging their signature food out the window of their own trucks. This latest culinary sensation has even prompted academics to spend time analyzing the evolution and transformation of food truck protocol. Continue reading
[A baseball essay, for Northern Journeys Magazine/Summer 2016]
Baseball makes up a substantial swath of my own personal history. I love most sports, but baseball is the one that has garnered the lion’s share of my attention over the course of my lifetime. Baseball was the first sport that I played. It was the sport that my father bequeathed to me and in turn, I passed it on to my own son.
As a talented high school player, I earned a scholarship to play in college. An injury derailed what I thought would be my career path—and I stepped away from the game I grew up with for the better part of my early 20s. It wasn’t until I returned to Maine after a strange sojourn away that I rediscovered the game and it has informed each and every spring (and summer) since then.
As a writer, baseball became the subject matter of my first book, When Towns Had Teams. As a late-blooming writer, I was searching for a narrative that was big enough to fill nearly 300 pages. Baseball beckoned me to make it my own story.
Like with many of my personal passions, history is central in my own understanding of the game. The pastime’s past for me begins with family.
My father’s brother, my Uncle Bob, was a talented left-handed pitcher for the Roberts’ 88’ers. The 88’ers, like many local town teams, were mainstays each summer in communities all across the Pine Tree State. Prior to our digital age, people still went out after dinner and watched local baseball played by men who might also double as their oil delivery man (like my uncle), or become their first American Legion coach and high school athletic director, like the late Stan Doughty was for me. Continue reading
Two profiles of New England ski resorts, part of RootsRated’s “An Insider’s Guide To The Best Northeast Winter Resorts.” This was published online, November 23, 2015.
—The Toll Road Quad, Loon Mountain Resort (Rudi Riet photo)
Loon Mountain Resort
A strong case can be made for Loon Mountain being New England’s most accessible big mountain resort. Just two hours north from Boston and three hours from Providence, the mountain base parking lot is a mere three miles east of a major Interstate exit (Exit 32 off I-93 North, for Lincoln/North Woodstock), and it serves up a menu that includes 61 trails and 2,100 vertical feet for both skiing and snowboarding. Continue reading