Showing posts with label Stephen Signor. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Stephen Signor. Show all posts

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.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Windham Wellness Fair and Earth Day a Perfect Match by Stephen Signor

Life Coach Jackie Winant

Despite a less than perfect day weather-wise, many celebrated a portion of Earth Day 2017 by going to St. Ann’s Episcopal Church to attend the Windham Wellness Fair. 

In keeping with the theme, those environmentally conscience folks who attended the fair were offered a complimentary filled water bottle that was made from recycled materials. But the real target audience here was those seeking to improve their physical and mental well being. Once inside, that search was over. Several vendor booths were ready to offer up suggestions as well as solutions. 

Jackie Winant, who has been practicing several forms of wellness since 2003, was one of them. “I am a life coach, polarity energy and a Reiki Master,” shared Winant.

Fern Dyer
That’s just for starters. She also finds the time to teach Yoga. Reaching out to those with the desire but not the motivation can be a daunting task. As Winant explained, “Coming to a fair such as this can be, for some, intimidating at times but should be just the opposite. There is a commonality associated with being here. If you have a moment to spare, you will meet a lot of people with a lot of different qualities. Everybody is here for the same reason.”

Then there are those who have made that decision to pursue some kind of approach to improving their wellness but are unsure of making the right choice. One alternative healing technique is through the use of stones. Fern Dyer, whose wellness practice comes primarily in the form of healing with stones and crystals, was on hand to offer her expertise. She was also willing to share how she got started. It began from a personal experience resulting from injuries sustained in a serious motor vehicle accident. The rest is history. “When I started doing healing 11 years ago, it all came together at the same time; learning Reiki and learning energy therapy, the stones came my way. I was also guided to take photos. They all have their specific healing properties and it works energetically. You don’t have to know what a stone means; just whatever you are drawn to.” This is what she tells people prior to her healing sessions where clients are given five stones to look at.“Sometimes people will think too much. They need to stop doing that. I tell them the one stone that pops out is the one that is for you. Then when they read the meaning, which accompanies each stone, they get validation. You are drawn to what you need.” Clients are then made comfortable on a message table in a meditative state from whatever makes them relax. This may be subdued lighting and or soft mood music. This is when she channels her energy. Energy is abundant and everywhere. “Energy is catchy and can be obtained and disseminated simply by being in a room full of people,” continued Winant.

For those looking to look good as well as feel good, there were a couple of available options to ponder. A major contributor to someone’s health or lack thereof is unwanted extra pounds, those seemingly unstoppable invaders who prey on us, particularly during the long winter months. Getting rid of them can be challenging. 

Amber McDonald, Program Director for ChiroThin of Maine, explained how this does not always have to be the case. “This is a six week program that is doctor assisted. Patients are guaranteed to lose 20 pounds but some people may lose more that. The program is geared for anyone regardless of their weight loss goals; as some people may only want to lose 10 or 15 pounds in a couple of weeks.  It is also a nutritional program. We help keep their diet under control and teach how to eat healthy. The main difference between this and other programs is that it is doctor created and supervised and there are no crazy supplements or shakes. It’s focused primarily on getting the appetite under control. 

Included is a four week maintenance program. This insures our patients will keep the weight off.”
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For those interested in receiving further information and alternatives, additional topics ranging from meditation to chiropractic practices were available from wellness representatives who were on hand to provide demos and talks throughout the scheduled for hours of this event.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Cuteness abounds at Barnyard Babies event by Stephen Signor

While Windham Blue Seal Feeds was having a truck load sale last week at their store on 43 Main Street, the Young Farmers 4-H Beef Club was also there holding an event of their own, bringing a little Easter fun into the mix. 
Two year old Zetty from Gorham fed the ewes

To welcome spring, “Barnyard Babies” was the theme of the day. Baby farm animals were available in pens outside the store for viewing pleasure, feeding and petting; while inside 4-H kids were selling raffle tickets. Haines Photography was also on hand to take Easter photos with live rabbits provided by the Cumberland County Rabbit Breeders Association. 

“We’ve brought Sapphire, a ewe and her baby twins, Sage and Sapphire Junior along with goat Ava, for the kids to touch,” shared Kathy Pride, Co-leader of the beef club.

Like last year, they are hoping to be able to fund another educational road trip. “We are fund raising for another trip, probably in the fall or sometime in January. We are going to the Pennsylvania Farm Show in January or Louisville, Kentucky to a big beach.”

“There is also an expo that is going to happen in May, so there is a meat raffle here today; with all the money going toward buying prizes for the kids, an education class and the general fund,” Pride’s husband ,Troy added.

Up for grabs was a winner’s choice of: 50 pounds of beef, 10 pounds of lamb or 10 pounds of pork.

This event was held last fall, at a time of year when there is more products to be sold and less space for crowds to gather. That over-crowding experience caused a necessary change. “We tried something different this time around because last year we learned that there were very long lines. We figured doing this earlier in the year, people could mill around freely because we really don’t have a lot of space inside,” said Blue Seal store manager Melanie Locke. 
Although this is the first time Doug and Gini Haines, owners, have had Easter Bunny photography available at the store, they have been doing pet portraits since starting their business 35 years ago. For them it turned out to be a good day. “It was a successful day. We did around 60 portraits which is a lot of kids. That bunny must have been tired, it was a long day for him,” shared Gini Haines jokingly.

Wendy Nugent was one of the numerous parents who had her child photographed with the Easter Bunny. Her eight year old daughter, Madison, sat in front of a colorful barnyard-themed studio, complete with hay bales, crates, barrels and of course - an Easter basket filled with colorful plastic eggs. “I had a good time petting the bunny and I am having a fun time,” Madison shared.
A chinchilla rabbit named Panda, a rare and endangered species, visited the special event for the day and later in the afternoon, a fun bunny hopping race occurred. “It’s like [dog] agility but with bunnies,” shared Pride. 

A long, busy, productive day also proved to be a fairly lucrative one for the 4-H Beef Club. “Our end total was $500.00.  It was crazy busy right up to the end!! All the animals and kids were very tied by the end of the day”, stated Pride. 

Friday, March 31, 2017

“The Price is Right” is a huge hit by Stephen Signor

Youngsters picking out prizes they have won.
Those iconic three words, “Come on down!” echoed inside the Windham High School Performing Arts Center over and over - complete with the show’s theme music last Friday. The game show, “The Price is Right” took to the stage in an effort to raise money in support of Project Graduation 2017; a project in which all the seniors and their parents got together to raise money. 

“Karen Petcher, Windham High School (WHS) math teacher, came up with the idea of ‘The Price is Right’ from a town she grew up in, so she pretty much ran everything that went on tonight,” explained Robin Mullins, co-chair for the Windham High School class of 2017 Project Graduation. has been doing projects like this for as long as Mullins can remember. “As a graduate of the high school in 1986, they had similar projects, but it wasn’t quite the same. We paid for it as a class and it was a little cruise around Casco Bay. This year will be something really special.” Usually kept as secret, students will not know what it is until graduation day. Keeping it a secret requires great willpower. “My daughter is graduating and I can’t even tell her, although several attempts have been made,” continued Mullins laughingly.

“We have to raise $30,000 for the trip and I am pretty sure that we are not only going to meet that goal but exceed it,” stated Mullins. 

A year is all that Project Graduation committees have to raise funds because fundraising efforts cannot begin until the previous class is done with their projects. “So you literally have about nine to 10 months: plenty of time when parents contribute,” continued Mullins. “I think we have a really good group of kids and parents. If anything is needed they have been stepping up.”  To this end Kudos also went to class advisor Kelly Anne Rush.

Among the contributors of donated time, was one of the announcers for items up for bid, Miss Maine 2017 Marybeth Noonan, who is no stranger to the limelight and speeches. “Part of my job is to represent the State of Maine,” Noonan explained. “How amazing is it to represent my high school? When in school, I was always in the theater and with the Chamber Singers, so this auditorium we’re standing in was like a second home. It’s so cool to be back here, giving back to the community.”

One of the exciting games to play
It was also her respect for producer Karen Petcher that prompted her participation. “Mrs. Petcher is putting this on and she is a great lady,” Noonan explained. “I wanted to support my class. I like to volunteer for most of the things for my class. I think it is important.”  Noonan also credited her success to the school system.

In all, there were eight games played. Two wheel segments, with the top winning contestants and, the cream de la crème, the showcase showdown. 

In between each of the eight games, the names of five children over the age of eight were called out. Excitement and applause ensued as they ran to a separate table where they could take a prize of their choice. While there was a sign held up during the event to encourage applause, clearly it was wasn’t necessary, right up until the very end.

Obviously enjoying her first ever attendance of a show like this, Debbie Payne who walked away as the overall winner of the evening, took home the coveted showcase, a five-night stay for a family of four at Point Sebago, a tube to be pulled behind a boat, two beach chairs, a cooler, S’more snacks, two beach towels, and a remote controlled boat.

“I was really excited about winning,” said Payne. Battling through a bit of nerves, she managed to make the bid without going over, but not before also scoring a few raffle drawings earlier. If there is another show again next year Payne will be there. “I absolutely will be back again,” she confirmed.

There were 150 donating businesses, encompassing most of Cumberland County that also made this event possible by providing the prizes. All of them that were not won, including the showcase, were raffled off at the end of the show. All proceeds from admission, concession and raffles will be applied to the project’s goal. “We are pretty close to hitting our goal right now so we are sure it will be exceeded from this night and the upcoming events,” shared Mullins. 

Two more events are on tap with Project Graduation. One is Smitty’s Movie Night on April 13. As Mullins explains, “People basically receive a ticket. When they go to the movies the theater will receive $5 and we will receive $5. So it is pretty easy. All we do is hand out the tickets.” The other event is a Fun Run/Walk-5k and takes place on April 30.

Anything over and above the target goal of $30,000 will be donated to charities in the names of two students who will not be present. “There was a student who passed away while in fifth grade and another one more recent. Both would have been seniors this year. They’re in our hearts,” concluded Mullins.

FMI and to register for the 5k visit:
FMI on movie night visit: and look in this or a future issue of The Windham Eagle for a coupon to clip out.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Time at school with a Japanese exchange student by Stephen Signor

Japanese exchange student, Keishi Goya, studies using laptop
On March 9, I was afforded the opportunity to shadow a Japanese exchange student, who arrived in the United States two weeks ago. This was part of the ongoing efforts through Greenheart and its dedicated High School Programs Department to connect students with other nations and promote leaders - through a collection of programs and initiatives. Keishi Goya, a 16 year old freshman from Okinawa, was here in the United States for the first time, which is not always the case. Visiting students have a pretty good handle on the English language, but not always.
During the first week here, as an introduction to American culture and the education system, all of the Japanese exchange students, and some host parents, went to Boston. “There were also year-long exchange students who attended the trip too, with their host sisters and brothers. They went to Harvard and toured the iconic school with its alumni and also had lunch with them,” shared Skylyn Vokey, a junior at Windham High and President of the International Club. They also got to ask a board of Harvard students questions as well. In addition to Harvard, the exchange students enjoyed a little free time to see some sights. They went to the Old North Church and Quincy Market to which Goya indicated, “I like Quincy Market very much”.

For this enthusiastic student it was a chance of a lifetime. When it comes to learning, one of the first things he shared was about the access to technology. “School is different here. We don’t have laptops back home in the classroom.” that is just a small difference. In Japan the length of a school day can be as long as 11 hours. “The day starts at 7:30 a.m. and classes end at 4:00 p.m. Then there are mandatory activities and chores like cleaning the school,” continued Goya. With two hours a day of homework on top of that, sleep is at a premium and leaves students tired every day. In addition to long hours the school year is lengthier in Japan. “We start school in April and finish the following March,” shared Goya. Only a one month vacation during the summer and two shorter ones makes vacation seem shorter for them.
During Social Studies class, Vokey served as a chaperone and organizer alongside a team leader from Japan, Koki Keiko - while Goya listened intently. Teacher, Brandon Champion later shared, “This is my second year teaching here so this is the first time I have had foreign exchange students. I had quite a few that came into my fourth period class. Nation Emerges, a class which students learn the first part of US history, touches on the development of tariffs. So I took the opportunity to relate and talk about taxes/tariffs on Japanese cars. It was very good.”

Goya and the other exchange students left Windham High School on Friday March 10; but did not leave the United States. Their next stop is New York City where they will become tourists and take in additional American culture. On March 17, they will begin the long journey home. When asked if he missed Okinawa, Goya replied, “No, I want to live in the America. I like it.”

Friday, March 3, 2017

Refuge church finds a home in Windham By Stephen Signor

After an extensive, exhausting search for a venue, the Reverend Adam Herald and his wife Tanya have found, at least temporarily, a home for the next three months to startup their new church - The Refuge. Just days ago the Heralds and their dream team were setting up and rehearsing for their inaugural day of worship at the Windham High School auditorium that commences this Sunday March 5 at 10 a.m.

Pastor Adam Herald rehearsing at WHS auditorium
Their names may be familiar having gained some exposure through what they call, interest hangouts. To incite awareness in their church, the Heralds have been conducting information services at locations like the Dugout, the Veterans Center, the library and for a few weeks at Pats Pizza, since moving here from Illinois just 7 months ago. As time passed, interest grew and helped set the stage for their ultimate goal of conveying a message.  “With a last name that means ‘messenger’, it’s part of who I am. As a youth pastor for 12 years and having attended Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri, there was always the desire to be a church planner”, shared Herald.

The name Refuge came as a message from the obvious point that is found in the book of Psalms: Chapter 91. “The whole passage talks about refuge, but not just refuge, but making God our Refuge. He becomes that place we can run to during the storms of our lives. Our battle cry is: Never be overtaken. It’s a good mantra to have based on scripture. You can’t go wrong in my opinion,” stated Herald. the unexpected. First impressions are important. To this end, as part of what they call a dream team, a first impression team, or parking lot crew for the layman; they will be there to greet church goers. “So many churches put all of the emphasis on the music and on the message. But what happens from street to seat, is the most important part of our first impression team,” explained Tanya Herald. To emphasize her point she added, “We tell the team - you are not parking cars, you’re parking people. By the time they’ve made it into the service, they will have made enough connections to gain our trust and listen to what we have to say. Their first impression will be made within the first 11 minutes.”

But that’s just the beginning. With a simple stage design and lighting, there is just enough to enhance the worship experience. “We know that people are used to the boring standup, sit down experience and we wanted to bring something that’s alive,” explained Adam Herald. “It’s to interact with all the senses. So many times when you go to church it’s just auditory. So if we can add visual, they start to connect and feel things more,” added Tanya Herald.

To dispel and disperse any fear out there that the Refuge may even remotely resembles a cult, Tanya explained, “Cults are more about their own agenda and we are not about that. We have credibility through our church planning organization Association of Related Churches (ARC) that has funded us, trained us and released us to this area.” ARC has planted over 600 churches in its 15 year existence all over the country. This is the first church planned through ARC in the state of Maine.

Furthermore, like most services this service is geared for everyone regardless of age. But unlike most services, the Refuge offers designated spaces by age. “We have rented the auditorium for the Bigs (adults), the cafeteria or Eagles Nest for the Middles (grades K to 5) and two class rooms for the Littles (ages 3 to 5),” shared Adam. “This is done so that parents can relax. There is no role at the Refuge that is not the most important role. To insure this, the ‘team’ has been trained for weeks and undergone background checks, done through the state of Maine; we’re going by the state of Maine regulations of adult to child care ratio. We also have different policies and procedures in place, plus there are first responders on site at all times. We’re not here to make a new church; we are here to make a new culture. We want people to say this is a church for people who don’t do church.” added Tanya Herald. 

With Easter the second largest attended service of the year, the strategic timing couldn’t be more perfect, perhaps divine. “We’re starting March 5, so that gives us six weeks until Easter.”

FMI visit:  and or to pre-register children, visit:

Friday, February 10, 2017

Windham High graduate combines education with life experiences abroad By Stephen Signor

Caroline Ireland (left) poses in front of a building being constructed

Well before Caroline Ireland graduated from Windham High School in 2015, her immediate future had already been mapped out. It began at an early age when she was in the girls’ youth group Challenge, run by Regnum Christi, a movement of the Catholic Church. Through this movement, 
Ireland joined Mission Youth as one of many missionaries that serve communities in the US and abroad in their specific needs.
Ireland’s interest in serving others is obviously innate. “I have always been a very curious person. My curiosity has definitely prodded my passion for volunteerism. I think all humans have a unique story to tell and I am always eager to listen. My passion and interest in service/volunteering also stems from my family. My parents and older siblings have always volunteered their time in a variety of ways.”
Once in high school it would be through the organization of Mission Youth that the first taste of travel and service would take place. “I knew they offered international service trips for high school students, so when I was a junior at Windham High School, my friend Katherine (who I did Challenge with) and her mom invited me to join them in Haiti. Of course I wanted to go so in July of 2014 I embarked on my first international service trip,” shared Ireland.
Haiti proved to be a really shocking and quite the influential trip. While there, she was exposed to a brand new culture and a country that was living in extreme poverty. “At first it was hard to look past all the trash and filth. I remember being genuinely repulsed at first, but then when I opened my heart to the people there I could see the inner beauty,” stated Ireland.
One day spent at the Home for the Dying, simply massaging the women in need was enough to learn the value of and importance of the human connection. “That day the simple act of the human touch and connection truly moved me. I vividly remember that day and am so grateful for the intimate experience I had with those women and the lessons they taught me,” continued Ireland. 
A typical Haitian Day
As a senior, things really took off. It started with the search for college. “I was unsure of what to study because I like a lot of things. I have always been passionate about people. I know I have the skills to work well with people and communities,” said Ireland. It was this mindset that lead to the decision to pursue a bachelor’s degree in social work. “I also believe I can grow as a human being in this field which is important,” continued Ireland.
Anselm College in New Hampshire was her choice.When I was applying for colleges, I knew I wanted to attend a liberal arts catholic college. Also I wanted a school that was aesthetically appealing, had great food, and was challenging academically. Saint A's fit that description perfectly. Saint A's is incredibly hospitable and many people here are involved with service,” said Ireland.
Anselm was also chosen for its reputation and dedication to community service. But that was not the only reason. During school, Ireland works for the Meelia Center for Community Engagement (MCCE), a service/volunteer center on campus. “The Meelia Center is what sets Saint A's apart from a lot of other small liberal Arts Colleges and I'm truly grateful to work for such a meaningful place! Also Saint A's is home,” continued Ireland.
Just three weeks ago Ireland embarked on a trip to Guatemala. This one included her parents. “It has always been my dream to go on a service trip with my family, because now we can share in this unique and educational experience together,” explained Ireland. Saint Joseph's College in Standish has been offering trips run though Partners in Development (PID) for over 10 years and with her parents connected to the school - her mother the dean of students and her father a clinical instructor for nursing, a family trip came to fruition.
And so began the connection to PID. “It was a no-brainer when my mother asked if I would be interested in going. I immediately said yes. So, I didn't necessarily pick to work with PID, the opportunity sort of presented itself,” said Ireland, According to her, PID is an organization that truly brings about positive change. “While I was in Guatemala I learned more and more about this organization and I got to meet some of the sponsored children, work on the construction site of two dwellings, and truly see the impact this organization is making on these children and their families,” continued Ireland. 
There is always time to have fun
Now 19 and a sophomore, Ireland is adding to her life lessons while pursuing that bachelor’s degree in social work. This week she will be leaving the USA to further her studies in and around Orvieto, Italy for one semester. The time there will be spent learning, which includes travelling two days a week in other Italian cities to visit museums. Spare time will be spent exploring the rest of Europe. “In my free time or open weekends I hope to go to Ireland, France and other countries as well,” said Ireland. With a sister that lives and works in Israel, there are definite plans to visit her for Easter.
Although this may temporarily suspend performing service through volunteering, it remains a priority in her life. For others who may have a shared interest but are unsure about pursuing the rewards, “I think the best piece of advice I can offer, is to be open to new experiences. Be open to learning from someone who is different from you. Be open to learning about and engaging with a different culture from your own. Be in the present! Volunteering is a wonderful way to use your talents for good, as well as gain new insight and perspective from the people you are serving,” concluded Ireland.
To learn more about these volunteer opportunities visit: and

Friday, February 3, 2017

A perfect day for cutting ice By Stephen Signor

Last Sunday saw over 60 people gathered at Dundee Pond, a small shallow bay of the Penobscot River in Gorham. Merrifield Farm, located at 195 N. Gorham Road, was the scene of ice blocks being cut and removed with the use of tools, at least 100 years old. With favorable temperatures and a blue sky; not to mention a history lesson, there was plenty of reason to remain for the entire scheduled time of 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Reporter, Stephen Signor, takes his turn cutting ice.
It has been five years since the last time an invited crowd assembled on Dundee Pond. “We haven’t cut ice in five years because of the weather conditions and I broke my ankle; otherwise it is every two years,” shared owner Lyle Merrifield. Using a device which he custom-made specifically for this purpose, a chain saw is guided as it makes its way to a depth that equals three quarters of the block’s total thickness.

But, it really all begins the day before the event, when roughly 3 hours are spent lying out and cutting the gridlines for the ice blocks, using a hand-held ice plow. “Yesterday we came down and scored the field of ice and then using a chain saw, the ice blocks are cut ¾ of the way through,” explained Merrifield. And that is where the use of modern technology ends. “All of the tools we use for the actual removal are at least 100 years old,” continued Merrifield.

Strewn across the ice, but most often in the hands of eager volunteers of all ages, are ice breakers, saws and ice clamps which were used to break-up, release and guide the ice blocks into a precut channel leading to a cart. From there, 10 blocks at a time - weighing 135 pounds each, are driven up to the ice house.

“We built the ice house in 2004 or 2005, I can’t remember,” shared Merrifield. The ice house, although rather small looking was big in volume. “The house will hold roughly nine tons but we usually only store about seven tons,” continued Merrifield. With an ice field that can yield roughly 12 tons, there is plenty to go around.

100 year old ice cutting tools are still used today.
Moving all that ice up the ramp and into the ice house requires power and leverage. However, using a team of oxen and a pulley system to do the job, it doesn’t take long. Once stacked inside, sawdust will be packed in to keep the ice cold for months - just as it has always been done prior to the invention of the refrigerator. “We’ll have ice next summer whenever we need it,” said Merrifield. The rest will go to vendors at the Cumberland Fair in the fall. The remaining amount cut from the field will be for the children to amuse themselves.

Among the interested onlookers and participants were members of the 4-H Club and the Historical Society. There were also those who have made it a tradition to come here during the spring for Maple Sunday. One participant was Brittany Taylor, a teacher from Windham Middle School. “This is the first time we have been here for this, but we will definitely return next year. It’s fun and good for the kids to get out and see something like this,” shared Taylor. Her two year old son, Trenton wasted no time in participating.

It wasn’t all work however. Lunch was available and served at picnic tables overlooking the pond and the increasing view of the newly exposed water surface. A feast of hot dogs, chili, soup and a macaroni and beef dish were among the served hot choices. Finger foods and a variety of desserts were also available; all made possible by the Merrifield family and many others.  

When all was said and done (and eaten) eight and a half tons of ice was removed. A job well done by those interested in participating. “It was a great day! I enjoyed seeing a large crowd and especially the children enjoying themselves,” concluded Merrifield.

FMI on this and upcoming events visit: