NORWAY – The fight continues for Aaron Fuda and his Fudafest.

At noon on Saturday, July 7, a group of what Fuda describes as “very pissed-off citizens” will march into town carrying protest signs against the Iraq War, President George W. Bush, and marijuana and nudity laws. As they make their way to Butters Park at the head of Main Street, where they have been assigned as part of the Downtown Festival activities, Fuda promises there will be open marijuana smoking and nude streakers.

“I fought the law and the law made more law. So the fight continues forever, as we the people will never stop drumming or smoking weed,” promised the organizer of the annual Fudafest in an e-mail to the Sun Journal.

Police Chief Robert Federico said he is not concerned.

“If someone does something illegal, he’s going to jail. If he wants to be a martyr, he can be a martyr,” the chief said Friday.

Fudafest, or Fully Unclothes Dancing Activism Festival, is described by its founder on the Fudafest Web site as “a clothing-optional protest against unjust laws, especially marijuana laws.” The 39-year-old Norway resident said he began the festival in 1992 on his McKay Road property in hopes of “bringing the hippies, punks and metal heads together to fight for their rights. Their right to party, dance and be naked.”

The affair immediately attracted notice by police. About a dozen years ago, nearly 50 law enforcement officers led by the Maine State Police Tactical Team surrounded some 400 festival-goers and searched them for illegal substances. Since that time, local police have locked horns with the group on occasion.

Federico said in 2005 that Fuda had four convictions that range from possession of a scheduled drug to marijuana cultivation since 1986.

This year, local officials said they tried to work out a better plan so that the festival could continue without disruption to anyone. But Fuda said he is not happy that he is no longer able to have ceremonial drumming and a peaceful gathering at his house.

“The town of Norway has made a law that is unconstitutional, making FudaFest illegal,” said Fuda in his e-mail. “The constitution gives us the right to peacefully protest laws and does not make limits on many people or how late the noise is. If we don’t make noise then you don’t hear us do you?”

While Fuda did not specify what law he was referring to, Norway recently passed an outdoor festival ordinance that, under certain conditions, regulates outdoor festivals through a permitting process.

Town Manager David Holt said Fuda has not applied for a permit.

“We’ve been working with them ongoing since last year,” Holt said. “We’ve been working with them to voluntarily submit an application anyway. If they didn’t have the event here, obviously it wouldn’t be necessary.”

Aranka Matolcsy, coordinator of the Norway Summer Festival, said she offered the group a site at Butters Park from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 7, to display their ceremonial drumming and puppets.

“I’m very positive about the whole situation,” she said. “I’m glad they’re willing to participate as a performing group. I think they’ve drawn the distinction between the festival and the town.”

Fuda said they will protest for three hours this year, but he intends to make next year “a bigger deal.”

“I bought this land to have ceremonial drumming when I want to, which according to tradition is all night long,” Fuda said. “There will be puppets, signs, drums and crazy costumes. If we can’t do this at my own home, then we will do this every year downtown, and each year it will get bigger and louder, I promise.”


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