Each state has a myriad of official symbols that respresent their cultural heritage and individual history. These include a state flag, motto, song, and bird. But did you know that each region also has a variety of obscure symbols such as a state treat, state fossil, and even a state dance?
Last week we brought you Connecticut’s lesser known state symbols. This week we will continue right along into Maine.
This iconic New England soda has been Maine’s state soft drink since 2005. The inventor of the bitter beverage, Dr. Augustin Thompson, was born in Maine, and there is a museum devoted to all things Moxie in Union, ME. Those who can’t get enough flock to Lisbon Falls’ “all things Moxie” festival each summer.
While most states have their share of animal symbols, not too many have their own cat as a symbol! The Maine coon cat became the Maine state cat – or state domestic animal – in 1985. These massive, hearty felines are known for their long, thick coats, distinctive facial features, long whiskers and huge paws, perfect for trekking through the Maine snow.
The fragrant, glossy leaves of the wintergreen plant were originally used for medicinal purposes by Maine’s first residents – the Native Americans. Wintergreen became the official state herb of Maine in 1999. It is still used holistically in teas to ease sore throats and upset stomachs, but most modern Americans know it as the flavoring in their gum and toothpaste.
Over 98% of the nation’s low-bush blueberries are harvested in Maine. There is even an annual Maine Wild Blueberry festival each summer. So it is no wonder the wild blueberry was named Maine’s official state berry in 1991, and blueberry pie was declared the state dessert in 2011.
The whoopie pie is more of a cake – or frosting filled cookie sandwich – than a “pie.” Though it was not invented in Maine, the state has certainly made the whoopie pie its own. These delicious goodies have graced Maine shop shelves since 1925 and became the official state treat in 2010.
Maine State Insect: Honey Bee
The country has never been more aware of the importance the honey bee has on our very existence, but did you know that 17 states recognize the insect as their state symbol? Maine designated the honey bee their official state insect in 1975.
Maine State Crustacean: Lobster
Not every state has their own official crustacen, but it should come as no surprise that Maine’s is the lobster! The largest lobster producing state in the country just recently declared the lobster its official crustacean in 2016.