Inside Bridgton

This drawing by a Lake Region High School will be among those exhibited this month at Gallery 302.

I think it was a good February vacation week for Shawnee Peak and all the other area ski areas, with so much snow topped off with mild, sunny weather. It seemed like perfect skiing and boarding weather to me. The weather was also good for a number of well-attended ice fishing competitions across the region. I hope everyone had a really good time on the slopes and/or lakes.

Personally, I was just happy to see snow falling from the roof and the sun eventually melting ice off the pathways I had to shovel to get out of my house. My front yard no longer looks like ice tunnels to exotic arctic places featured on the Travel Channel! I want to keep thinking spring and, in homage to my skiing/boarding friends, I will try to keep thinking “spring skiing.” However, I am really into the melt, and I look forward to the “Big Night” of the salamanders (usually sometime in April or May).

Freezing for a Reason results

The Winter Carnival on Highland Lake on Feb. 19 was a great success and a good time was had by all. Bridgton was packed with people and business was booming all day long.

The ever-popular Freezing for a Reason polar dip raised more than $28,000 to support Harvest Hills Animal Shelter. Congratulations and thank you to the more than 70 crazy individuals who plunged into the icy waters for a good cause.

Bridgton Rec sign-ups

I’m always one to promote looking ahead to warmer weather. Don’t forget to sign the kids up for spring athletics and programs sponsored by Bridgton Recreation, as I mentioned in my last column. Coaches, officials, umpires and anyone willing to help with the concession stands and/or other duties are also encouraged to contact Rec. Director, Gary Colello, at 647-1126 or More information and registration forms can be found at

Lunches during Lent

The Bridgton Ecumenical Group of local churches  have started hosting their annual Lenten Lunches at St. Joseph Catholic Church on Wednesdays from noon to 1 p.m. Each lunch will be sponsored and hosted by a different church or organization, but all will be held at St. Joseph’s, 225 S. High St. A representative of the sponsor will give a short talk on spiritual reflections during the meal.

The menu will consist of homemade soups, bread and beverages. The meal is open to the public and free, but donations will be gratefully accepted at the door.

The dates for the lunches and the sponsors are:

March 8 – St. Peter’s Episcopal Church and the Bridgton Community Center

March 15 – Bridgton Alliance Church

March 22 – Bridgton United Methodist Church and Harrison Congregational Church

March 29 – First Congregational Church of Bridgton

April 5 – Lake Region Vineyard Church and South Bridgton Congregational Church

April 12 – Holy Week/ snow date (if needed)

Pipe organ restored

The Music Committee at the First Congregational Church of Bridgton will celebrate the restoration of its 1930 Estey pipe organ with an inaugural concert at 2 p.m. Sunday, March 5, at the church, 33 S. High St.

The concert is free and open to the public so everyone can enjoy the unique and historic instrument. Performers at the concert include Jeremy Hill, the congregation’s current organist and choir director, and Dan Moore, who held the position of organist and choir director for many years. Refreshments will be served after the concert.

The Estey Organ, Opus 2948, was installed at the church in 1930 to replace the George Stevens organ dating from 1871. It continues to be housed behind the original casework for the Stevens organ. Despite the onset of the Great Depression, in 1930 the church’s congregation experienced the maturation of a charitable trust, which allowed for some cosmetic changes to the sanctuary and the purchase of the Estey organ with 722 pipes in three divisions. In 1972, Dr. Dwight W. Leighton of Yarmouth led a restoration of the organ, which included the addition of 70 pipes and replacing the action with what was then state-of-the-art electric action.

The most recently completed upgrade was led by Nick Orso of Portland and involved a complete restoration of the organ and the installation of a new, American Guild of Organists-compliant console as well as a sound system that allows for the addition of church and theater organ supplements. The project began in early June and the organ was “unveiled” this past Christmas Eve.

The First Congregational Church would like to thank the many members of its congregation who contributed money and physical labor to help complete this restoration effort.

Student artwork on display

Students  from Lake Region High School, Fryeburg Academy and Bridgton Academy will display their work at the 2017 Student Art Show at Gallery 302, as part of a national celebration of visual arts for grades K-12.
LRHS students will exhibit drawings, mosaics and 3-dimensional work assisted by their teachers Teal Rancourt-Carlson, Christina Metcalf and Carmel Collins. Students of Gabe Miller at Bridgton Academy will  show wood carvings, other 3-dimensional works and prints.  Stephen Pullan’s students from Fryeburg Academy will exhibit paintings and drawings.
The student works will be on display at the gallery, 112 Main Street, from Friday, March 3, through March 24. A public reception will be held from 1-3 p.m. Saturday, March 4, from 1 to 3 p.m.
The show is part of Youth Art Month, which is observed annually in March to emphasize the value of art and art education for all children.It recognizes the skills developed in visual arts as experiences that are not possible in other curriculum areas and that are vital 21st century skills that contribute to the success of our children in a global society.

This drawing by a Lake Region High School will be among those exhibited this month at Gallery 302.

Artwork from Fryeburg Academy, such as this piece, are included in the Gallery 302 exhibit.