PERU — The Friends of Peru Elementary School met with residents Monday evening at the old school to discuss the possibility of reviving the long-dormant Peru Summerfest this year.

The tentative date is Sept. 5-6.

Yvonne Allen, former chairwoman and current co-chairwoman for Peru Summerfest, said she and other volunteers had stopped doing the festival due to a lack of volunteers.

“It’s such a great event, and people have so much fun when we hold it,” Allen said. “That’s why we’re back here and trying to get it going, but in order to do that, we really need help.”

One difference between this year’s festival compared to previous ones is the finances, said Linda Hebert, resident and member of the Friends of Peru Elementary School.

“In previous years, we would hold fundraisers year-round to make this event possible,” she said. “This year, we’re attempting to raise money for the Friends of Peru Elementary School. It’s going to be a little different.”


Residents discussed what did and didn’t work in the past.

Allen said traditionally, the Summerfest kicked off Friday evening with a parade that ended at the old school.

“It was always a really popular event, but we were always thinking that it was missing something,” Allen told the group. “I think this year, we should have a few food booths, or some incentive to keep the people at the Summerfest after the parade is finished.”

Allen also said that a street dance could be held in the area between the Town Hall building and the old school.

Resident Bill Scott said there was a four-piece band from Buckfield that he played with in the past that may be able to perform.

“They play rock ‘n’ roll music from the 50s and 60s,” he said. “I’d be willing to give you my time, but you’ll have to pay the others.”


Allen said a pancake breakfast kicks off the festivities on Saturday, followed by a cavalcade of different events.

Allen named events from past Summerfests, including craft tables, a flea market, bingo, a dunk tank, volleyball tournaments, demonstrations from the Fire Department and games for children. The games were free, but Hebert said they “may have to charge a little bit of money” to pay for the festival.

Allen suggested they charge $1 per child, which would give them access to all of the games, including putt-putt golf, bean-bag toss, ring toss, fishing pool and frog jump.

“I don’t think anyone would have a problem paying $1 for the events,” Hebert said. “Plus, they would still get prizes after playing the games. That wouldn’t cost extra money.”

Allen said another event they are hoping to hold is “cow chip casino.”

“With that event, Dana Putnam brings down some of his oxen, and we set up a large grid with different numbers on it,” Allen said. “People will buy squares on the grid, and whoever buys the square that the oxen does his business on, they’ll win 50 percent of the proceeds.”


The festival will not have a bounce house for children, she said.

“It was a nightmare to run,” Allen said. “It’s usually been a regular part of the Summerfest, but it’s tough to get the children in and out of the house and keep an eye on them at all times.”

Another event that will likely be dropped, according to Allen, is the “Wife Carry” race.

“That event is so much fun every year that we hold it, but the last few times we’ve held it, we had some people blow out their knees, or someone who hurt their back,” she said.

Instead, Summerfest may feature a couples obstacle course.

Instead of a talent show, they may organize a Family Feud game, based on the popular, long-running TV game show.


“I think a Family Feud game could be fun,” Allen said. “You could get different families to face-off against each other.”

Although the Peru Summerfest is typically a two-day event held near the end of summer, Allen said, “If anybody has any events that they want to run on Sunday, by all means, do it.”

“We tried holding a pickup softball game one year,” she said, “and neither team could even pick up a softball, let alone play the game. Having a two-day event is exhausting, so most people are usually burned out by Sunday.”

Allen said Friends of Peru Elementary School and other volunteers will continue to meet in the coming weeks to discuss getting the festival going. Anyone interested in helping is welcome, even if they do not live in Peru.

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