Memorial Day is once again upon us, marking the unofficial beginning of summer and the gradual influx of summer visitors (and the blackfly invasion). Many will celebrate this first warm-weather three-day weekend by opening up summer houses, taking their first seasonal boat trip or perhaps organizing a family picnic complete with lobster and steamers.
I also hope everyone will take a few moments during the weekend to think about why we have this holiday at all. Memorial Day stems from Civil War times when a day was set aside to decorate the graves of war dead with flowers. That tradition continues today, sadly, after many more wars that produced so many more soldiers’ graves. The Maine Old Cemetery Association designated the week before Memorial Day as “Maine Old Cemetery Week” to encourage people to care for old burial grounds and prepare them for the Memorial Day holiday.
A number of local residents and organizations have made efforts to spruce up our town cemeteries and memorials and place American flags on all the known graves of veterans. I encourage you to take some time from your busy holiday schedule to visit a cemetery or war memorial and remember how dearly this holiday cost so many. And please don’t forget to give them a “thank you.”
Kids race on Fourth
Now is the time to sign your kids up for the Fun Run/Walk that will be added to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Bridgton’s ever-popular 4 on the Fourth Road Race. Children aged 3–10 are eligible to enter and can choose to run a quarter- mile, half-mile or full mile. The event is sponsored by GrandyOats, a Hiram-based company (originally from Bridgton) that produces delicious organic granola and other snacks and encourages family-oriented activities that promote active, healthy lifestyles. The Fun Run/Walk will be held at 5 p.m. on Sunday, July 3, the night before the main road race. Participants for the kids’ race can register on the day July 3) from 4-5 p.m. or online at www.fouronthefourth.com. Participants for the main Road Race must register online at the same web address.
Tai Chi Maine venue changes
The Bridgton Old Town Hall on North High Street will be used for other purposes for a few days, so Tai Chi Maine will hold its classes on Tuesday, May 31, Tuesday, June 14, and Thursday, June 16, at the Bridgton Town Beach on Highland Lake – weather permitting. Mark your calendars and bring water and bug spray. Check www.taichiinmaine.com for more information. Tai Chi Maine is also committed to promoting local community and supporting the Bridgton Food Pantry. The group urges all its members registered to vote in Bridgton to vote “yes” on Question 5 on the town ballot requesting a grant for the Bridgton Food Pantry. The referendum vote will take place on Tuesday, June 14, the day before the Bridgton Town Meeting.
Are you ready to test your boatbuilding skills and summon your inner pirate? If so, the Bridgton Lions Club invites you to enter its 1st Annual Cardboard Boat Race – that’s right, cardboard boats! The theme is Pirate Ships. The race will take place at the Bridgton Town Beach on Highland Lake on July 2 (rain date July 3). There are two categories for participants: Ages 12-17 and 18 and over. Each boat will be timed over the race course. Prizes will be awarded in each category for “Best Theme,” “Most Visually Appealing Boat” and “Fastest Course Time Without Sinking.” Registration is at 10 a.m. on race day, and the races start at noon. Additional information, race rules and entry forms, as well as cardboard-boat building tips and a guide on “How to Build a Cardboard Boat,” are available at the Bridgton Lions website: e-clubhouse.org/sites/bridgton. There is no entry fee, but entry forms must be received by June 25, 2016, so enter now and start creating your amazing Pirate Ship – Arrrgh!! Let’s make this a fun time for all!
Loon Echo Trek
It’s never too early to get out there and start training for the 2016 Loon Echo Trek, which will take place Sept. 17. Choose to hike of 4.5-6 miles or bike 25-80 miles, or, for the very enthusiastic, combine the two on routes through and over some of the prettiest countryside around. The Trek will begin and end at Shawnee Peak Ski Area. A big post-trek party will feature great food and live music. Take advantage of an early-bird trek registration discount before May 31 and have your name entered to win a gift certificate to the Oxford House Inn in Fryeburg. To register and obtain more information go to LoonEchoTrek.org.
AARP driver course
The Bridgton Community Center at 15 Depot St. (behind Reny’s) will sponsor an AARP Driver Safety Class for ages 50 and older on Saturday, June 9, from 9 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. The class is designed specifically to help mature drivers adjust their driving skills to age-related changes in vision, hearing and reaction times. The course will include instruction on defensive driving techniques, new traffic laws, rules of the road and more. Don’t worry – there is no written test! And, Maine drivers 55 years of age or older are entitled to discounts on their insurance premiums for three years after completing the course. Advance registration and payment are required. The fee is $15 for AARP members and $20 for nonmembers. For more information and to register call 647-3116. You can also visit the Maine Driver Safety website at DriverSafetyMe.weebly.com.
Arts & Crafts opens
The Bridgton Arts & Crafts Society shop, 12 Depot St., will open its doors for its 38th season on Memorial Day weekend, May 28-30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Stop by to see crafts and gifts made by local artisans and take a chance on winning a beautiful handmade quilt that will be raffled off in September. The society also welcomes new members; if you are interested send an email to Bev at firstname.lastname@example.org or Joanne at email@example.com.
Diane Marcotte, a registered nurse at the Androscoggin Home Care & Hospice Bridgton Office, was one of seven AHCH workers honored as an Employee of the Year at the agency’s annual gathering in April. The award recipients were nominated by their peers for their outstanding contributions to the agency throughout the year and for exemplifying AHCH values of integrity, stewardship, accountability, compassion, quality and trust.
Bridgton Hospital’s Diabetes Clinic, A.A.D.E certified, will present a three-part Diabetes Self-Management class beginning Thursday, June 16. Pre-registration and pre-assessment is required for the classes. Other classes will be held June 20 and June 22. A dietary consultation is required, and should be done before the classes begin. Contact Linda Russell, 647-6062, to schedule an appointment. Class participants are encouraged to bring a relative or friend with them. For more information about the program or to register call Elaine Drew, 647-6064, Elaine Drew. All classes will be held at Bridgton Hospital.
Employees of the year
Residents and organizations have worked to make sure Old Glory is flying high this Memorial Day.