"Freedom Festival" is planned this weekend – The Ellsworth American

ELLSWORTH Former State Senate candidate John Linnehan will host a Freedom Festival on Aug. 1 and 2 in the parking lot of the Maine Coast Mall behind Governors Restaurant.

This is the first one Ive ever done, said Linnehan. Im trying to make it a staycation vacation.

Linnehan, who is president of Linnehan Homes and has run Christian ministries in the area, was a conservative candidate in the July 14 Republican primary for Maine Senate District 7. He lost to fellow Republican Brian Langley of Ellsworth.

Linnehan said he is not selling tickets to this weekends event and will not be counting visitors. The state is still under orders to limit indoor gatherings to 50 people or less to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Seated outdoor events, such as concerts, may divide seating into up to four separate areas with up to 50 people each as long as the layout meets several criteria. Those include at least 14 feet of separation between sections, with physical barriers to prevent intermingling; separate restrooms, concessions and services for each section and enough space for 6 feet of separation between household groups.

Linnehan said that hes not sure how many people will be attending the festival but that he doesnt expect people to camp out but stay for an event and move on.

We will have masks available but Im not going to enforce it, he said. People are more than welcome to put it on. I believe its an individual choice.

The festival includes a Spin-tacular basketball show with the Crevier family, gospel singers and a salute to law enforcement. The festival will span two days, with the same agenda both days beginning at 1 p.m. and ending at 7 p.m.

We strongly believe in our biblical Christian values and our United States and Maine constitutional rights and freedoms, reads a statement on the Freedom Festival website. We believe that all citizens have their individual freedom of choice to wear a mask or not wear a mask. We will have masks available. Please respect all people attending whether you agree personally with their position on this issue or not.

Linnehan said that he wants everyone to respect everybodys individual constitutional rights, and that those who are uncomfortable with being in a large group are welcome to watch the event online or not attend.

Im very sorry the way this has been a divisive issue around the country, he said. Linnehan compared coronavirus with the flu and said he believes the risk from COVID-19 is very, very minimal. He said that the effects of lockdowns are worse.

Were meant to be social people. We hug people, we shake hands. Those things to me are being more effectively damaged.

Although respiratory diseases linked to the seasonal flu can be deadly, killing between 290,000 to 650,000 people every year according to the World Health Organization, COVID-19 has already surpassed that figure, killing at least 650,157 people worldwide since late December, according to Johns Hopkins University. That has been the case even with strict prevention and lockdown measures in place across the globe. Cases show no sign of abating in the United States.

The city did issue a mass gathering permit for the Freedom Festival, said Code Enforcement Officer Dwight Tilton, as it has done for other gatherings in recent weeks, including those associated with the Black Lives Matter movement.

This event differs from other rallies in recent weeks, said Tilton, because it is on private property.

The purpose of the permit is to have a diagram of the event area in case of a police or fire emergency, Tilton said in an email. The permit is not issued for the event but for the location.

The code enforcement officer would not be enforcing possible violations of the Governors executive order, which Tilton said would be the responsibility of the property owner and event coordinator.

Tilton said Police Chief Glenn Moshier did send letters reminding the property owner and event coordinator that they are required to follow the Governors executive order, and included copies of the order in the letter.

The American was unable to reach the owner of the Maine Coast Mall or state officials who would be tasked with enforcing the Governors executive order.

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"Freedom Festival" is planned this weekend - The Ellsworth American

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