Friday, July 9, 2010

Ogunquit Days – Village Celebrates 30 Years of Separation

By Candi Enman
Staff Columnist
The village of Ogunquit turned 30 on July 1st, and boy do they know how to throw a party.
For five full days, July 1st through the 5th, community leaders, residents, business owners and visitors celebrated the historic July 1, 1980 separation of Ogunquit from the town of Wells, of which it had been a part dating back to the 1600’s. Although its official incorporation and municipality status was granted in 1913, as the town of Wells continued to grow commercially, Ogunquit sought separation in order to maintain its personal, small town feel.
Throughout the long holiday weekend, the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce, local businesses and several community organizations and committees held tours and hosted special exhibits that exemplified the heart and soul of the quaint, nostalgic “beautiful place by the sea”. From morning till night and from Perkins Cove to the Ogunquit Playhouse, birthday party festivities were ubiquitous throughout the village.
Among the many highlights was the 30th Birthday Party, held on Thursday afternoon on the lawn of the Ogunquit Memorial Library. While munching on a large, scrumptious American flag blueberry and strawberry birthday cake courtesy of Bread & Roses Bakery, participants listened as life-long residents and early governing officials shared stories about Ogunquit’s move to an independent town.
Richard Littlefield, whose descendants were the first permanent white settlers of Ogunquit, was a town Overseer in the 1970’s and one of the leaders in the move to separation. “We had our own philosophy and wanted to maintain a nice, little town,” said Littlefield. Becoming its own village meant that the people of Ogunquit could make their own laws and adopt ordinances on issues like road signage and their ability to prevent ‘formula food’ restaurants and chains from coming into town. Littlefield went on to say, “Everyone who lives here is proud of this community. Innkeepers and residents alike keep their properties nice and we continue to retain our hometown, community feeling.”
On Saturday, the Ogunquit Conservation Commission’s Greening Committee held “Green Day” at the Main Beach. Committee Co-chairs, Bob Joyner and Madeline Brown, together with volunteers set up an awareness display to raise money for the greening of Ogunquit and to educate visitors on ways to help protect Ogunquit’s natural resources. For a small donation, beachgoers had fun tossing water and juice bottles into a recycling bin and walked away with a ‘Green Day. Everyday.’ reusable tote bag and other prizes donated by local businesses.
“Over the last two years we’ve been working together with Ogunquit businesses and residents to help keep our community green,” said Joyner. Green Day sponsors that underwrote the tote bags, including Bintliff’s, Meadowmere Resort and Clay Hill Farm Restaurant, are Maine-certified environmental leaders. “We have the second highest number of them in the state, behind Bar Harbor.”
Green Day reusable totes are still available for a $1.50 donation to support the commission’s continued outreach efforts to keep Ogunquit beautiful, clean and green, and can be purchased at Jeremiah’s, This Is It, Ogunquit Remedies, Revelations and the Ogunquit Camera Shop.
Visitors who stopped by the Dunaway Center on School Street on Saturday or Sunday had the chance to view the NAMES Project AIDS Memorial Quilt display and to remember those from Maine who lost their lives to AIDS and HIV.
Chris Prudente, President of the NAMES Project: Northern New England Chapter was on hand to answer questions and provide insight about the non-profit organization’s mission to continue education, to remind us all that the disease is on the increase again in our country, even though it’s preventable.
“In the 90’s medications were developed to manage the disease and people weren’t as scared about contracting it. Since 2000, though, AIDS is again on the increase and its face has changed,” said Prudente. “Here in Maine high school and college kids are getting sick and nationwide, women are currently the fastest growing segment getting STDs and HIV.”
“The Town of Ogunquit, including the town manager, has been very supportive of our organization and our mission, and we are very appreciative,” added Prudente. If you missed them, the quilts are maintained and stored locally at the expense of the Northern New England Chapter and can be seen on display each year during Memorial Day Weekend.
Other awareness and fundraising events were enjoyed by locals and visitors: Thursday’s ‘80’s Night at MaineStreet’ to benefit the Frannie Peabody Center, Friday night’s Spirit of Giving Committee’s ‘Poodle Skirts for Pups’ 50’s-themed fundraiser for the Animal Welfare Society, and Sunday evening’s ‘Run for the Fallen’ 80’s Night at Clay Hill Farm.
The Ogunquit Playhouse birthday celebration festivities included back stage tours, hot air balloon rides and its Children’s Theater production of “101 Dalmatians”.
One thing is for sure, the people of Ogunquit are proud of their culture and individuality, and especially their warm, vibrant village. And why shouldn’t they be? Just look around.
Photo caption: 30th Birthday Cake by Bread & Roses Bakery (Candi Enman photo)

“Private Gardens of the Kennebunk’s” Garden Tour

By Candi Enman
Staff Columnist
English Cottage? Fruits and vegetables? Or maybe a Japanese Zen Garden?
If you need ideas or just inspiration for growing your own lush garden, plan to attend the Saturday, July 17th “Private Gardens of the Kennebunk’s” Garden Tour. The annual event, now in its 16th year, is a fundraiser for the Child Abuse Prevention Council of York County.
For one day only a $20 donation to support the Council’s vital programs and services will gain you access to nine private gardens at homes throughout Kennebunk, West Kennebunk and Kennebunkport. The self-guided tour, spanning 22 miles, will allow you to meander and view the gardens at your own pace, while gaining landscaping and gardening ideas.
Special guest Paul Parent, host of the popular Sunday morning syndicated radio show “The Paul Parent Garden Club”, has been helping to promote the benefit and will make his gardens available for viewing again this year. Parent, a nationally recognized gardening guru, will offer tips and answer questions about gardening in New England, including landscaping options, plant varieties, pest control, watering techniques and more.
The Garden Tour will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., rain or shine. Selected gardens to be featured on the annual tour change each year, with the exception of Parent’s who has new surprises this summer, and are kept secret until the day of the event.
On July 17th participants will need to purchase a brochure that describes each garden along the tour and includes a map with driving directions. Brochures can be purchased at one of these area businesses beginning at 10 a.m. on the day of the event: in the parking lot behind Marlows on Main Street in Kennebunk, at Kennebunk High School on Fletcher Street in Kennebunk, Estabrook’s Color Spot Garden Center on Route 1 South in Kennebunk, Blooms & Heirlooms on Route 1 North in Kennebunk and Carrots & Company on Ocean Avenue in Kennebunkport. Those who have already purchased advanced discount tickets must exchange their tickets for a brochure and map on the day of the tour at one of the above locations.
While on the tour, participants can stop to enjoy light refreshments at Lucas on 9, which is located at 62 Mills Road (Route 9) in Cape Porpoise.
The Garden Tour began in 1995, when Shari Lewchanin, a past board member, fulfilled her obligation to raise money for the Council by creating the idea for a garden tour. In the 90’s each board member was responsible for raising $200 each year. This year’s Garden Tour goal is to see 800 participants and raise $18,000 to fund the Council’s critical outreach, education and prevention programs.
“The Council is very fortunate to be located in a very generous community that provides such strong support for children and families in York County,” said Laurie DuPaul, the Council’s Executive Director. The Garden Tour is one of two major annual fundraisers for the Child Abuse Prevention Council of York County. All proceeds from the tour directly support the non-profit organization’s works to raise awareness, provide education and prevent child abuse and neglect right here in York County.
The 2010 “Private Gardens of the Kennebunk’s” Garden Tour is sponsored in part by Estabrook’s Color Spot Garden Center; Digital Research, Inc.; the law office of Libby O’Brien Kingsley and Champion, LLC and Genest. Tour details can be found at For questions or more information, call the Child Abuse Prevention Council of York County at (207) 985-5975 or email
Photo caption: Paul Parent in the garden (Courtesy photos)

Stuffed: A Book Review of Beatrice and Virgil

By Chip Schrader
Book Review Editor
“Beatrice and Virgil” is Yann Martle’s follow up to the enormously successful “The Life of Pi.” With “Beatrice and Virgil”, Martel continues using themes and characterizations of animals to convey struggles that humanity has encountered over the years.
The story begins with a frustrated author named Henry, who has completed a follow up novel he combined with a non-fiction essay. The first quarter of the book wrangles with idea that fiction and non-fiction overlap, and with Henry’s struggle with publishers and agents to see his vision that this release should be a flip book (a book that can be read with the essay first from one side, and flipped backward with the novel first).
Henry, a loyal and disciplined fan mail reader, comes across a vague letter accompanied by an excerpt from a play about a monkey and a donkey. The letter reads “I read your book and much admired it. I need your help.” As Henry tracks down the return address, he stumbles into a vast taxidermy shop with a whole menagerie of mounted creatures. The author of this strange play that seemed to be about animals and fruit, but not really, is an octogenarian taxidermist also named Henry.
The second half of the book consists of the Henrys working on describing, critiquing and detailing scenes from the play. Young Henry finds himself trying to unlock the meaning of the play and even the taxidermist’s passion for his livelihood.
At times the lists of items Henry spots on a shelf, or the animals he spots in the shop gets tedious (one or two lists go for over a page). While plausibly meaningful, Martel numbs the readers mind with this barrage of itemization. The description also veers into tedium, and makes “Beatrice and Virgil” better suited to a long winter’s read rather than a light summer read where the reader’s mind is likely swimming in a humidity induced laze.
In short, the story shifts from the play, to the life of Henry, and into descriptions of the finer points of taxidermy all within one hundred and twenty pages. By the time it all weaves together, the book is almost over, but Martel leaves very scant threads to encourage the reader to get to this point. For fans of “The Life of Pi,” this is still essential reading. Also, those who enjoy a book focused on philosophical and observational musings will find Martel’s method of engaging the reader satisfying as the story will finally unfold its meaning. Those looking for a page turner based on a traditional storyline will tire of this quickly.
The bottom line, Martel transcends the traditional story arc for a more challenging narrative. It will pay off for readers looking for more than a leisurely read, or a stock narrative that is often written and rewritten in fiction’s mass market. Those who need a break from intricate detail and locution may want to look elsewhere.
Photo caption: Cover of Yann Martle’s “Beatrice and Virgil” (Courtesy photo)