BETHEL — From re-enactors to children’s games, craft demonstrations to exhibits, porch plays to horseshoe pitching, flower show to art show, there was something for everyone at the 30th annual Sudbury Canada Days, Bethel Historical Society heritage festival held Aug. 7 to 9.

One of the new offerings this year was silhouette artist Ruth Monsell, who free-hand cut silhouettes of children, adults and pets with a five-minute sitting. The appearance marked the first engagement of the artist in the Bethel area. 

The 18th Hall Memorial Lecture featured a presentation on “Abraham Lincoln, Hannibal Hamlin and the Civil War Presidency” by H. Draper Hunt, PhD, Emeritus Professor, University of Southern Maine. 2009 marks the bicentenary of Lincoln’s and Hamlin’s birth. Hamlin was born on Paris Hill and served in a variety of capacities, including Maine governor and U.S. senator before becoming Lincoln’s first vice president.

Hunt reviewed the historical insignificance the U.S. vice presidency has had for much of its history until recent times. He said Lincoln, undoubtedly fearing defeat, thought a change in running mates would make re-election more likely, but his selection of a war Democrat from a border state with the qualities exemplified by Andrew Johnson were probably not a good choice. Based on his record, Hunt said, Hamlin perhaps would have been more successful had he succeeded Lincoln. 

Old-time children’s games included sack races, three-legged races, clothespin drops, suitcase races, egg relays and an ice cream eating contest. Winners included Eric Dalitzky, Boden Dock, Claire Holloway, Jake Houlton, Abagail Nelson, Jackson Nelson, Nate Nelson, Hannah Pierce, Izaiah Zoolack and Zack Zoolack. Bruce Pierce and Dave Meltzer conducted the games. 

Among the winners of the horseshoe tournament was Steve Estes of Waterford. 

Flower show participants included Bessie Bennett, Amy Davis, Carole Duplessis, Wende Gray, Mabel Kennett, Harry Kuzyk, Danner Nickerson, Jane Vogt and Susie Wight. The door prize was won by Lucia Schwarz. 

Among the craftspeople present on Saturday were Eileen LaPerle, basketmaking; Jane Peterson, spinning; Mabel Kennett, Lucy Nordahl, Barbara Honkala and Shireen Vincent, quilting; Ann Carlson, penny rugmaking; Grace McKivergan, chair caning and weaving. 

Historical films were shown throughout the afternoon on Saturday and Sunday. 

A series of porch plays were held Saturday, beginning on lower Main Street worked their way up to Broad Street where the final one was held on Stan Howe’s side porch. A log driver’s bean supper was followed by entertainment provided by the re-enactors at night.

A special moment during the weekend came when a wedding party being married on the Common requested to have the re-enactors fire the cannon at the time the couple being married finished exchanging their vows. 

Don and Kathy Bennett hosted the annual art show. On Sunday afternoon, the 1895 Lower Sunday River School was open and Caroline Gould, a retired teacher, served as hostess, with former students Jane Young and Florence Morgan providing memories of their time attending the school, which closed in 1943. 

A presentation on Maine mountain history was provided at the Dr. Moses Mason House on Sunday afternoon, given by Steve Pinkham, author of “The Mountains of Maine: Intriguing Stories Behind Their Names.” He also autographed copies of the book. Alden Kennett and Dick Hale held forth at the logging and farming exhibit at the Hastings Homestead barn on Saturday and Sunday. 

The weekend ended with the annual hymn sing at the Middle Intervale Meetinghouse, with Nestor Littlefield at the piano. 

For more information about the society and its activities, call 824-2908 or 800-824-2910, e-mail [email protected] or visit www.bethelhistorical.org.


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