NORWAY — The 2014 Mellie Dunham Shoe & String Festival went beautifully thanks to perfect snow conditions, energetic sixth-graders, talented musicians and Dunham family descendants. The Western Foothills Land Trust would like to thank partners Norway Downtown, Healthy Oxford Hills, CEBE and the Norway Grange.

The Don Roy Trio with Maggie Robinson calling played to a full Grange Hall of contra dancers on Valentine’s Day night. The dance was sponsored by 5210 Let’s Go, a program of Healthy Oxford Hills. Maggie did a great job of calling for a range of dancers, experienced and newcomers. Mellie’s great-great-great-granddaughter Jackie Lemieux, family and friends came from the Berkshires for the festival, surprising all attendees.

Saturday’s snowshoe games were infused with considerable energy by Tracey Morin’s sixth-grade class at the Paris Elementary School, which had adopted the Snowshoe Festival as a class community service project. Three-legged races, sprints, egg and spoon, an obstacle course, musical chairs, a snowshoe dance-off and the traditional snowshoe wife carry were amongst the competitions.

In the early afternoon the more rigorous 5k and 10k snowshoe races were held on the Stephens trails. Casey Reynolds won the 5k with a time of 47:42, Lance Clarette took second in 1:07, and Jessica and Dave Lemieux crossed the line together in 1:17. Two runners completed the 10k snowshoe run: Jackie Lemieux in 1:39 and Lee Dassler in 1:36.

Four snowshoers and one wagging dog came out in the light snow for a “full-moon” snowshoe walk at Shepard’s Farm Preserve Saturday evening. The mile-loop woods trail was quiet and mysteriously beautiful by headlamp.

On Sunday 42 competitors participated in Gram Dunham’s Air-Rifle Biathlon at the preserve. Offered in collaboration with the Southern Maine Biathlon Club, skiers competed in either 3x1k or 3x2k races. In the 3x2k men’s division, Elijah McCurdy came in first, followed by Marc Vanderwood, second, and Ike McNutt, third. In the women’s 3x2k, Julia Dillon came in first, followed by Madison Letourneau, with Kim Spencer coming in third.

The largest biathlon field to date, the Trust would like to thank volunteers including Sam Armstrong, Eliza Beghe, Bill Burmeister, Krissa Emery, Cindy Harbage, Jim McBride, Kurt Minster, Bob Moorehead and Bob Van Nest for making the event safe and fun.

Kenneth Chin, Harvey Williams and Henry Swift came in first, second and third for the men’s 3x1k race. In the women’s 3x1k, Cary Rhodes came in first, Lindsay Smith second and Morgan Letourneau third. Mina Kazimierczak, age 8, took the gold in the “Little Littles” division.


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