Windham SummerFest: 'By community, for community'

This year's SummerFest parade gets underway at 10 a.m., starting at Lotts Drive and ending at the high school.

WINDHAM — This week’s warm weather isn’t the only sign that summer has arrived. There’s a long list of summer festivals and events lined up in the Lakes Region, including Windham SummerFest on Saturday, June 24. 

Kelly Mank, who is in her fifth year as SummerFest Chair, said that the event is a “family fun day put on by community members, for community members.” 

The all-day program kicks off at 10 a.m. when carnival games and food booths open and the parade down Route 202 gets under way. The parade route ends at Windham High School, where the rest of the festivities will be held – including live music, games, races, a car show, several demonstrations including a K9 Demo from the Windham Police Department, and a fireworks finale. 

The grand marshal for this year’s parade will be 2014 Windham High School graduate Samantha Frank, who is now attending the University of Maine. 

Mank says that several “old home games” were added to the program this year, including an egg relay, sack races, corn hole toss competition and hula hoop contest. 

Mank also noted that the event wouldn’t be possible without the support of local businesses and the town of Windham. 

“We couldn’t do it without our sponsors,” she said.

Town Manager Tony Plante said that the town’s support for the event comes through efforts by the parks and recreation department, public works and public safety. While the town had at one point allocated specific funding towards SummerFest, it has not in recent years. 

Town Councilor Donna Chapman, who is helping with the SummerFest parade this year, hopes that the town can be more involved with the event. Chapman said that the town budgeted $5,000 in seed money for SummerFest at one point in the past. 

“We’re hoping the town gets more involved, so that it’s a win-win for everyone,” Chapman said. “Whether it’s financial, or resources, or all of the above … We use the resources, but there’s always room for more.” 

Chapman also said she’d also like to see SummerFest events eventually be completely free. Mank said there is no admission charge and most of the events are free, but the carnival and some of the games do cost money. The food also costs money.  

Plante, who applauded the SummerFest volunteers for their work, said that the town could consider revisiting direct funding for the event down the road. 

Plante said that town officials are “definitely looking for ways to create events and spaces to bring the community together,” specifically in ways that bring residents together “without having to pay extra.” 

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.

This year’s SummerFest parade gets underway at 10 a.m., starting at Lotts Drive and ending at the high school.

The Duane Clark Memorial Car Show will benefit the the Duane Clark Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Windham Veterans Center. 

Windham SummerFest will conclude with a fireworks show.