NEW SHARON — The first annual Prince Baker Day plans feature a variety of activities for all ages.

The festival, planned for Saturday, Aug. 20, on the grounds of the New Sharon Town Office, begins at 9:30 a.m. with the grand opening of the historical room, Darlene Power, Historical Committee chair, said.

Activities are scheduled from then until 4 p.m. when a soap box derby takes place on Main Street. There is still time to make your own soapbox and participate, she said. Specifications for the soapbox and rules are listed on the town website.

 Among the activities is a Dunk The Sheriff!! tank. Organizers are selling tickets for this one event, three tries for one dollar to dunk Sheriff Scott Nichols, but the funds raised will be given to Joe Douin, she said. Douin is donating part of his liver to his aunt. Funds are being raised to help with the expenses. 

A kids bike and baby carriage parade around the town office starts at 9:45 a.m. and is followed by things like horseshoes, a cross cut sawing contest, sling shot shooting gallery, tug of war for kids and adults, D.J. music and karaoke, historical display and much more. 

There are also several events and kids games for children including a water slide and bounce house leased from Tooney Looney in Skowhegan, she said. The water side is 50-feet long, 18-feet wide and 18-feet high.

And what is a festival without food? Douins Market will sponsor a whoopie pie contest, Sandy River General Store will furnish hot dogs for committee members to cook and a corn chowder contest will be held with judges Travis Pond, Diana Oliver and Heather Meng.

Corn has an historical significance to the town making it an appropriate contest for the Historical Committee to choose. The town’s old corn shop was the largest seasonal employer in town. The shop burned in 1960, she said.

“Prince Baker was the town’s earliest settler.  The township of New Sharon was granted to Prince Baker and others, by the State of Massachusetts, in 1791 and was settled so rapidly that in 1794 it was incorporated,” according to town history compiled by Williamson in “History of Maine.”

Originally, the town was called Tyngstown and later named Unity before taking its present name of New Sharon.

After residents dissolved the Historical Society at town meeting over a year ago, the Board of Selectmen appointed an Historical Committee and asked Power to chair it, she said. 

Members of the committee wanted to bring back a summer festival like the town used to enjoy, she said. It was also a way to honor this founding settler and engage the town’s history in to the day.

“We wanted to give it a different name and atmosphere,” Power said.

 About 12 members are planning and working on the new festival.

A new historical room for the town has been set up at 11 School Lane, the site of the town office building, she said. A display was previously located in the old library building on Route 2. New signs for the room will also be unveiled during the grand opening.

Area residents can visit with Smokey the Bear and their neighbors, join in an “Under the Knife” game, a life-size Operation game, and have a chance at several door prizes.

Tickets will be passed out upon arrival at the festival for no charge. A winner will be drawn every half hour from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The winner must be present to win, she said.

Plans are already under way to expand the festival next year to include a parade, dance and fireworks, Power said.

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