Sunday, October 5, 2014

Third annual community coin challenge in full swing - By Elizabeth Richards

The third annual Community Coin Challenge has begun, with the goal of raising money for the food pantries in the ten towns served by the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce.Chamber board member and organizer of the event Sheri Huff said approximately 200 jars have been distributed and are out in the community.  Additional jars are available at the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce at 747 Roosevelt Trail in Windham.  As the jars fill up, they can be taken to Gorham Savings Bank to be counted, dropped off at the chamber office, or returned at Octoberfest, the grand finale of the challenge.  
Every time a full jar is taken to Gorham Savings Bank for counting, said Huff, the bank will donate an additional $5 to the cause. As of September 22nd, $7,269.40 has been raised, including a significant donation from the Sebago Lake Rotary Club after their Feet for Food walk, which was held on September 21st.   This year’s goal, said Huff, is to raise $25,000 for the food pantries.

Octoberfest, a free family event, will be held in the Buck’s Naked BBQ parking lot on October 18th, 2014, from 1p.m. to 4 p.m. The day will be filled with fun activities, food, and plenty of opportunity to drop coins in the donation jars that will be at each booth. Each business who participates agrees to have a tent/table with an activity or giveaway, decorations and trick or treat candy for the kids costume parade and contest, and everything must be free of charge, said Huff. 

Some of the featured activities include crafts, games, a dunk tank, chair massage, bouncy houses, face painting, and a cupcake eating contest. Horse drawn wagon rides will be available, as well as musical entertainment by deBree’s and Keys and Montgomery Road. There will be a photo booth and a pumpkin carving contest as well. Huff said that on Friday, October 17th from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., free pumpkins will be available at Bucks Naked BBQ while supplies last. Contestants should return the carved pumpkins on Saturday at 1 p.m. to be entered into the contest.

The event will also feature plenty of free eats, including pizza, hot dogs, sausage sandwiches, subs, popcorn, cotton candy, donut holes, apples, snow cones, and a dessert tent. Beverages available will include cider, lattes, water, coffee and soda.

Helicopter rides will also be available, with a $35 donation per person. Tickets for these rides are available online or can be purchased at Octoberfest.

This year marks the third annual Community Coin Challenge and Octoberfest. In the past two years, $38,039.28 was raised. All of the funds collected are directly donated to the area food pantries. 

This year’s signature sponsor for Octoberfest is Windham Weaponry, who will have four different booths at the event this year. Other sponsors are: Lee’s Family Trailer Sales & Service; Gorham Savings Bank; Aubuchon Hardware; Buck’s Naked BBQ; and Hometown Heat from Raymond, who will be donating 5 percent of their equipment sales between September 15th and October 15th to the cause.

“The community has really stepped up to make this event a success,” said Huff. “It’s not just the efforts of one person. It comes down to a community effort.”  For more information on Octoberfest and the Community Coin Challenge, visit

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