Todd Nelson (left), principal of Brooksville Elementary School, and Mayor Arthur Finzi of the French community of Saint-Castin were in Castine this morning ahead of the arrival of a replica of the frigate Hermione. PHOTO BY CHARLES EICHACKER

Visitors from far and wide in Castine for Hermione arrival

CASTINE — Visitors from around the U.S. and across the pond were here Tuesday to witness the arrival of the Hermione, a replica of the frigate that brought friendly French forces to New England shores during the Revolutionary War.

Food and arts vendors have set up at the town dock, and a small stage has been erected for musical performances and storytelling events in advance of the ship’s 4 p.m. arrival. Tours sponsored by the Castine Historical Society are wending their way through town.

Among the visitors is the mayor of Saint-Castin, a southwestern French community and Castine’s sister town.

Hosting and taking Mayor Arthur Finzi around is Todd Nelson, a former principal of the Adams School in Castine (and current principal of Brooksville Elementary School). In 2007, they started an exchange program for students in the French and American sibling communities.

Since then, around 20 kids from Castine and Saint-Castin have stayed with host families in the other’s towns. One student even stayed with Finzi, who has been in office four terms, stretching across 20 years.

In an interview Tuesday morning, Finzi said he’s also serving as an emissary for the governor of the province of Béarn, where Saint-Castin is located.

“For me, it’s very important today. It’s the day of Hermione. It’s symbolic,” he said. “It’s very important, someone from Béarn being here.”

The arrival of the Hermione in Castine is happening on the French holiday known as Bastille Day.

Before the Hermione arrives in Castine at 4 p.m., a parade of boats will accompany it to local shores. At 6 p.m., a parade will then proceed through town to greet the crew.

Visitors are encouraged to carpool or use satellite parking at Bucksport Middle School, to which a shuttle is making trips.

Charles Eichacker

Charles Eichacker

Reporter at The Ellsworth American
Charles Eichacker covers the towns of Bucksport, Orland, Castine, Verona Island, Penobscot, Brooksville and Dedham. When not working on stories, he likes books, beer and the outdoors. [email protected]