PERU — A celebration of food, history, games and music will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, to mark the 75th birthday of the former Peru Elementary School.

Among the guests will be Gloria Donahue, who began kindergarten when the school opened in January 1937. Another guest will be Phyllis Turner, widow of longtime Peru Road Commissioner E.P. Turner, whose friendship with philanthropist Marshall L. “Jack” Gibson of South Portland led to a $10,000 grant to the Friends of Peru Elementary School. The funds are used for the building’s operating expenses.

Nick Waugh, a former staffer at the school and president of ‘Friends,’ will give a tribute to Gibson for providing the funding. Gibson owned Commercial Paving company from 1945 to 2004 and did road work for 175 Maine municipalities. After selling the business, he decided to select 12 towns each year for five years to receive a $10,000 gift. Peru’s gift arrived last year and it was decided to use it for upkeep of the former school.

The school was closed several years ago when the former SAD 21, and now RSU 10, constructed Dirigo Elementary School, also in Peru.

The Friends group has worked to make the building a community center. So far, the local food pantry is there, Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, and exercise classes are held there. ‘Friends’ recently received a license to operate a community kitchen in the building.

Among the other events Saturday are face and fingernail paintings, horse-drawn buggy rides, a decorated pumpkin contest, a magician performance, a photo slide show, an historical exhibit focusing on the school by the Peru Historical Society, an indoor yard sale, and the raffle of a quilt created by Peru resident Mary Pulsifer.


Music will be performed by singer Michelle Johnson and singer/guitarist Alan Hutchinson. A jam session open to all area musicians will be held at 3 p.m.

School T-shirts and ‘Friends’ cookbooks will be on sale.

There is no cost for the soup, bread, chili and cupcake lunch, and no admission charge to the day’s events. However, donations are accepted to help continue operating the building.

The former school is at 30 Main St. in West Peru.

The celebration takes place rain or shine.

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