Fred and Denise Brittain had no idea how much their home meant on Easter Sunday.

They bought their Farmington home in 2006 and were not told about the community tradition that took place on their driveway one day each April for the past 30 years. 

“We had no idea,” Denise Brittain said. 

Fred Brittain was helping his neighbor in the hay field when Bill Berry said, “I’ll see you on Easter morning.”

“Now that’s an odd thing to say in the middle of the summer,” Brittain thought.

As it turned out, the Brittain’s home and the clear horizon looking East from their land, has played host to an Easter sunrise service every year since 1977. 


Rumor had it that the celebration at dawn was written in the property deed. Not so, Denise Brittain said, but the family has been welcoming hosts nonetheless. 

Over seventy five people attended the sunrise service on the Brittain’s driveway high up Voter Hill on Sunday. 

One of those parishioners is Roger Condit, a 76-year-old retired doctor who left his home just after 4 a.m. to walk to the service, four miles away. 

“It’s easy, enjoyable and brings great satisfaction,” Condit said.

Condit made his first Easter trek in 1996 by himself to get in shape for a planned four-day trip in the Grand Canyon with his son. He and a couple of friends have walked between four and eight miles every Easter since.

“Roger finds something he likes and he sticks with it,” his wife, Karyl, said. 


Eight different parishes from Industry, New Portland, Farmington and Wilton were represented during Sunday’s ecumenical service. 

“Everybody is welcome,” said Karyl Condit, who, along with Roger, has been a member of the Old South Congregational Church for 45 years.

“When you belong to a church as long as we have — It’s almost your second home,” Karyl said. 

Sunday’s sun rose at 5:47 a.m. as Doug Fair played “The Pines of Rome” on his trumpet. The musician with the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra makes the 90 minute drive from his home in Yarmouth to play hymns each Easter.

“I could get jobs closer to home, but I would never think of it,” Fair said. 

“It’s astonishing what happens,” said Irene Berry, who has helped organize the service every year since the first celebration 37 years ago. 


“We have had snow showers and one year it just poured,” Berry said.

Roger Condit remembers approaching the Brittain home through a fog bank. He could hear the bag pipes being played but could not see a thing. “I could hear this lovely sound, but you did not even know where the bag pipe player was,” Condit said. 

“When it’s cloudy, the service starts after the last person comes up the hill,” Berry said. When it’s clear, like Sunday, the service begins as soon as the sun peaks out from the horizon. 

A “friendship hour” follows the service as the Brittain family invites everyone indoors for coffee and refreshments. Each congregation takes turns providing snacks each year. People from all faiths mingle before heading back down Voter Hill to their own parish for another Easter service. 

“It’s a good, full day of church,” Nan Berry said. 

“This is a great tradition in Farmington,” Karyl Condit said. 

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