Friday, June 30, 2017

Windham Summerfest 2017 enjoys another successful year by Stephen Signor

While no one really knows how long the Summerfest has been celebrated, there was one person on hand who did shed some light on its history. Tom Tyler, who was working/helping at the Windham Republicans’ booth selling hotdogs, and who was involved in the original festival shared, “All Home Days, as it was called back then was started by the North Windham Fire Company and was held at the old Manchester Camp Ground. It was moved down where the Manchester School is now and then eventually where Home Depot is currently situated.”
After a few years of successful growth, the Windham Jaycees got involved, and this resulted in a joint venture of running Home Days for the next twenty years. “Unlike the Summerfest as we know it today, it was a five day event, running from Wednesday to Sunday. From there the summer celebration became the Lakes Region Salmon Festival, for what would be the last couple of years. As it continued to keep growing and as the fire company became busier and busier with its main cause, interest and attendance began to decrease and eventually it would close down. It wasn’t too many years that a decision was made to bring it here to the high school,” continued Tyler.

That being said, nothing says summer like a myriad of outdoor activities that includes music, games and of course, the unmistakable fragrance coming from numerous food vendors. All of this and much more could be found at one location last Saturday when the Windham High School hosted yet another Summerfest. On a day that began with overcast skies and despite the unpredictability of Maine’s weather, Windhamites ventured the short distance from the preceding parade to take part in this summer tradition. 

With 2017’s version of this community and town sponsored event under way, people of all ages were moved or otherwise coaxed by the musical antics of Flamin Raymond & Sizzlin Susan to engage in a hoola-hoop contest. Giving testament was Jen from Windham, who was there with her two children Laura age 5 and Callan age 2, who showed no hesitance in participating. “I didn’t have a choice in being a participant, he (Flamin Raymond) approached me” she said laughingly. 
The fun lasted throughout the day, with events that included but were not limited to: a frog jumping contest, corn-hole toss and the ever popular sack race. For music lovers there was no shortage of tunes to be moved by. The State Street Traditional Jazz Band got things going, but not before the special presentation to Windham High alumni and this year’s Grand Marshall, Samantha Frank. 

Frank graduated in 2014 where she exhibited her prowess as a wrestler on the varsity level. Now a nursing student, she continues to wrestle at the University of Maine where she is also currently on the Dean’s List. 

A special presentation also went to the Primary School Music Director, Nancy Cash-Cobb for her contributions to the department as Educator of the Year. On hand to present these awards were Senator Bill Diamond and District Five, Representative Patrick Corey.
As always, the carnival midway lured those adventurous enough to test their luck as well as their skills; and for children of all sizes - the rides. The Windham Parks and Recreation sponsored a half-price ticket booklet to the first 100 people to purchase a ticket booklet between the hours of 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Congratulations go to Chrystal Biggs, who was the winner of a free booklet drawn from among those 100 who posted to Facebook. 

Not far away was the Duane Clark Memorial Car Show to benefit Duane Clark Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Windham Veterans Center. If looking at tricked out or classic vehicles was not of interest, there was also demonstrations occurring at the Windham Police Department K-9 Division and a martial arts demo by The Greater Portland School of Jakado.

Following no shortage of activities and an endless supply of refreshment provided by local business and charities, Summer Fest 2017 would culminate with the ever popular music of Motor Booty Affair, with an encore of the traditional epic fireworks display.

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