NORWAY – Families from all over the Oxford Hills gathered on Main Street Saturday for the Norway Summer Festival and 31st Annual Sidewalk Art Show.

Festival goers found something to please everyone, whether it be food, children’s activities, music or art.

More than 70 artists displayed their work. Barbara Traficonte, who has taken part in the Sidewalk Art Show for “a long, long time,” was glad to see the art show expand into a festival. “I love the fact that they have food on the street,” she said. “The music is great.”

From her spot in front of 100 Aker Wood, Traficonte could clearly hear the Fiddle Jam which took place on the Weary Club porch in honor of fiddler Mellie Dunham.

Other musicians performed throughout the day in Pike’s parking lot. Bluegrass, new age or folk music could be heard almost any time of the day.

Later, the poets took the stage, as Poets on the Porch began at the Weary Club. The crowd on the sidewalk spilled over into the road as passersby stopped to listen to Maine’s poet laureate, Baron Wormser, and other local poets, both professional and unpublished.

Children could choose from Farm Fun, offered by OT to Play, Songs for Kids by Martin Swinger, or a variety of activities at the Boxberry School tent in Witherell Park.

A paint-spattered Jessica Grover, of the Boxberry School, said “we’ve had a lot of kidswe’ve had as much fun as the kids have.”

In addition to mural painting, children visiting the Boxberry School tent could put together a giant puzzle or make a mosaic out of broken pottery.

As the sun broke through the clouds around noon and Main Street got a little warmer, people were ready to find some lunch and a shady spot in which to eat. Most found that food was much easier to get than shade.

Kara Maloney, at the Oxford Hills Special Olympics food stand, said that business had been “very steady. We’ve had to run to the store twice.”

Fare Share Market, which offered wraps, soup, and chili, had served more than 250 customers by late afternoon.

Later in the evening, more than 60 people gathered in the Grange Hall for the Mellie Dunham Remembrance and Old Time Dance.

Dancers young and old took to the floor and danced the night away to the music of Old Grey Goose and Dudley Laufman.

Even Mellie Dunham himself took part, channeled through local historian David Sanderson.

The high point of the evening, though, was when Dunham’s granddaughter sat down at the piano to perform his Rippling Waves Waltz.

“We’re very happy with the [festival’s] turn out,” said Lilia Bright, one of the festival’s co-cordinators. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback and we hope that means even more people will come in future years.”

Local artist comes home

NORWAY – For Marian McMorran, showing her exhibit at Saturday’s Sidewalk Art Show was just like coming home.

“I was born and brought up right here,” she said, gesturing behind her toward the Pick-A-Lily Emporium.

McMorran, who now lives in Auburn, was born Marian Verenis. Her family owned Verenis’ Store, now Pick-A-Lily, and lived in the apartment on the second floor.

“We had 9 rooms,” said McMorran. The family often rented part of the second floor, once to a foot doctor.

The store on the first floor sold produce. “They had the best fruit,” remembers Letha Woodworth, who grew up near the store.

During the World War Two, the bus stopped at what was then Ashton’s, across the street, to pick up newly enlisted soldiers. “All the boys gathered right here,” McMorran reminisced.

McMorran’s father, Charles Verenis, came to Maine from Greece in 1921.

After he opened the store, his friends decided it was time for him to get married.

“They said, ‘we know a nice family in Greece,’ and they sent for my mother,” McMorran explained. “She cried all the way over but she said she had the most wonderful life here in Norway.”



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