LePage tosses hotel key into Casco Bay, hopes for ‘mermaid’

Gov. Paul LePage stands on the Maine State Pier in Portland to mark the 90th anniversary of the Westin hotel by throwing a key made out of fish food into Casco Bay. (BDN photo by Jake Bleiberg)

An alternative headline may have been: “Where’s the governor’s hotel key? The fish ate it.”

As part of a creative 90th anniversary celebration for the old landmark Eastland Park hotel, now the Westin Portland Harborview, Gov. Paul LePage came down to the Maine State Pier and chucked a hotel key made out of fish food into Casco Bay.

Why would a politician throw a key made out of fish food into the bay to celebrate a hotel’s anniversary, you ask?

When the Eastland was opened in 1927, then-Gov. Richard Brewster threw a key – presumably metal – into Casco Bay to signify that the hotel would always be open and welcoming to guests.

So LePage was just performing a modern recreation of that symbolic act, using a key that was more environmentally friendly.

“We’ll hope there’s a mermaid down there,” he said as he tossed the sticky-looking orange key into the water.

A key made out of fish food that Gov. Paul LePage threw into Casco Bay to mark the 90th anniversary of the Westin hotel in Portland. (BDN photo by Jake Bleiberg)

If Westin guests start returning to find their rooms unlocked and bathtubs occupied by fish women, we’ll know there was. And Portland will have a whole new tourism industry boom.

This is, assuming, the mermaids didn’t just eat the key.

Current hotel General Manager Jeffery Burrell, descendants of Eastland founder Henry P. Rines and a 1933 vintage Packard car were also on hand for the ceremony.

“Our tribute is a nod to the past with contemporary twists that we think today’s guests will appreciate,” Burrell said.

Hotel workers are also marking the anniversary by performing 90 “good deeds,” including recent days volunteering with the Milestone Foundation and a community clean-up effort. Westin officials invited supporters to share their own good deeds on social media using the hashtag #WestinME90.

And now, listen to the Half Moon Jug Band sing about why you may want to swipe left if a mermaid pops up in your Tinder feed.