Summerfest is back on. For six years, the Windham community has come together in conjunction with the town to put on Summerfest. Events taking place from the parade in the morning to fireworks at night and everything in between have been a draw for residents. When Summerfest was called off due to lack of volunteers, many in Windham cried foul.
With the help of Ron Eby and Kelly Mank (the publisher of The Windham Eagle), a committee has been organized to spear head Summerfest, but with a few substantial changes.
The new Summerfest committee will be Kathy Varney in charge of booths including food and businesses. Robert York will head up fundraising. Julie Arsenault will organize entertainment for the center stage. Kelly Mank will run marketing. The parade will continue to be organized by Clarence Wisecup and the “Duane Clark” Memorial car show will be run by Stan and Cheryl Page.
“I’m thrilled to death that you guys are doing this. I was down in the dumps (when it was cancelled),” said Wisecup, who has coordinated the parade for six years.
Organizing the committee isn’t the only key to Summerfest. Volunteers are needed to work on each of these committees and on the day of. There will be a call for high school students to volunteer time to walk the parade route and help with set up and take down of the venue at the school complex on Route 202.
The biggest change being proposed by the new committee is to change the hours of Summerfest from an all-day event to one that begins at 3 p.m. with the parade and continues through the 25th anniversary concert by the Windham Chamber Singers and ending with the fireworks, which have been donated this year by Central Maine Pyrotechnics. This donation will save Summerfest thousands of dollars.
Fundraising efforts are being coordinated and may include a stuff-the-truck bottle drive, a donation only method and other events. The idea is to raise enough money to continue to bring citizens the parts of Summerfest they have come to know and love, said Mank.
One of the goals is to keep the event local and not pay a lot of money to have groups come from outside the area.
“We have to share the workload,” said Tom Bartell, head of the Windham Economic Development Committee.
A top priority is finding someone to update and retool the Summerfest website and the Facebook page to get the word out and allow organizations to sign up for booths and volunteering.
Planning is still underway and fluid, according to Mank.
But have no doubt, “We are back in business,” said Wisecup.
There will be a Summerfest volunteer meeting at Time4Printing, 588 Roosevelt Trail, on Tuesday, March 26 at 6 p.m. Everyone interested in contributing and hearing more should attend.