Monday, July 1, 2013

Summerfest: family, food & fun by Michelle libby

Summerfest 2013 is history, but the memories will last in the minds of the over 4,000 people who attended the event some time during the day.

“It went off without a hitch,” Summerfest coordinator Kelly Mank said. The day kicked off with a car show, a 5K and the Lion’s Club pancake breakfast. The parade, which started later than in the past, travelled down Route 202 to the high school complex, where organizations had tents set up to sell everything from frozen hot chocolate to peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

“I think it went amazing. A great success,” said Kathy Varney, who coordinated the vendors. “Minus the 50 raindrops we got, no one left because they were disenchanted or unhappy.” Some vendors ran out of products and others had other commitments, Varney said.

Smiles abounded as neighbors in the parade greeted neighbors on the side of the road. There were many different floats and entrants this year. Stanley Wisecup, the man in charge of the parade, said there were no incidents or even near incidents this year between parade goers and the larger vehicles.

“This is something we can continue to build on,” said town manager Tony Plante. “We had a rocky spring. We didn’t have the volunteers. A really great group of people stepped up, actually tons of great people,” he said.
“I watched the parade, and walked through the car show, food vendors and saw a lot of people enjoying themselves,” Plante added.

The main stage and the field in front of the stage was busy through the day with entertainment like Mad Science, the frog jumping contest and a K-9 demonstration by K-9 Grinko and his handler Sergeant Bill Andrew. The Windham Eagles’ Rob Donato acted as master of ceremony for the day. The most popular part of the day was headliners Motor Booty Affair, who played for almost two hours before the fireworks. Not even a little bit of precipitation slowed the crowds from seeing the show. Community members danced in front of the stage and in their chairs to the sixties and seventies disco music. Even The Windham Eagle’s own Dave deBree played his saxophone as a guest of the band. The fireworks, donated by Central Maine Pyrotechnics, were spectacular as billed. 

Humanitarian and Summerfest committee consultant Ron Eby was allowed to help set off the display with Windham High School principal Chris Howell and his team.

“The energy was phenomenal. The community really pulled together with volunteers and business sponsorships to make it a family friendly, fun-filled day,” Mank said. 

Safety was top priority and the Windham Police force was on site all day. “Everyone was safe. I had some concerns, but everything worked out pretty well,” Chief Rick Lewsen said. “Only two kids were missing for a few minutes.”

The silent auction raised $409.50 for the Windham Primary School playground and Del Chadbourne won the 50/50 drawing, both of which took place the day of the event.

“It went fabulously. It was an exhausting and fun day all at the same time. I honestly don’t think it could have gone any better than it did,” said Robin Mullins, who did much of the fundraising organization. Mullins also wanted to thank Josh Elliot, Joe Hansen, Michelle Brooks and Rick Yost for their help with selling advertisements and running fundraising events.

There were helicopter rides for much of the day, but when the weather rolled in threatening the fun, it no longer was safe to fly and that was closed. There were also rides and games at the carnival to add smiles to the event. Plante was in contact with people all day, he said, watching the weather. “It was if a little hole opened up in the weather front right around Windham,” he said, thus the fireworks were able to be lit.

“It was exactly what we expected Summerfest to be,” said Varney.

Next year promises to be an even larger event. Mank is hoping to grow the business expo and would like to see more youth organizations get involved to help with their yearly fundraising. 

“After all the people who have worked so hard enjoy their summer, I look forward to working with them on Summerfest 2014 and the town continuing to be part of that,” Plante said.

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