Friday, August 19, 2011

South Berwick Celebrates LanternFest

Molly Colman loves fire. The South Berwick artist is even more enamored with the idea of people strolling peacefully along a path lighting the summer night with their hand-made lanterns. So it is literally a dream come true that so many of her neighbors have been busy making lanterns in preparation for SoBo’s first annual LanternFest, scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 25 on the shores of Knights Pond and at the Spring Hill Restaurant.
“I saw the LanternFest as a celebration of the simple pleasures of community,” said Colman, who first came up with idea of a lantern walk after hearing of other events involving light, fire and community in Jamaica Plain, MA and Providence, RI. “Something about fire brings people together,” she said, “whether around a campfire, watching fireworks or dining over candlelight.”
So far, students and families in South Berwick have crafted more than 300 lanterns, which will be lit with fire, tea lights and glow sticks at the quarter mile stroll through Spring Hill’s field and woods.
In addition to the lanterns, children in town have made hundreds of luminary bags decorated with their ideas of why they like South Berwick. As one child, 8-year-old Kylie Stephens wrote, “I like our town because it is peaceful.” Or as others said, “I like my town because everyone is nice,” “I like the fact that my town cares about everyone and it keeps people safe,” and finally, “I love seeing the clear stars at night.”
Many of these qualities of this town of about 10,000 people will be evident at the late summer gathering, which has been scheduled as the last Thursday night concert in the Hot Summer Night’s concert series.
Although Colman initially envisioned simply a river of light, volunteers who joined in planning the LanternFest slowly added dreams of their own.
Nicole St Pierre, president of the board of SoBo Central, suggested music and a picnic to open then event. Thus, the soft rock cover band PB&J will play at 5:30 p.m. on the grounds outside the restaurant, while participants are invited to bring a picnic or buy food available on the grounds. Spring Hill, which donated the space for the event, will be selling burgers, hot dogs and other items. Beverages and bake sale items will be sold by community groups.
“I wanted this to be a community event where truly everyone felt welcome,” said St. Pierre, who founded the local Hot Summer Nights concert series. “Besides being a beautiful night of light, a great chance to hear local music and a showcase for creative art, the LanternFest should be a place where we as a town come together to enjoy each other and living in South Berwick.” SoBo Central, a two-year old non-profit group, also runs the Hot Summer Nights concert series.
Dozens of high school students volunteering for the event will staff lantern-making, face-painting, glow stick, lantern, and LanternFest t-shirt booths.
MSAD 35’s new superintendent, Mary Nash will be at the picnic to greet her new constituency and to help her hometown launch this new event.
The 7:30 p.m. parade of handmade lanterns will start just after sunset and end on the shores of Knights Pond, where water lanterns will be launched and dozens of sky lanterns will be set adrift into the night sky. As each water lantern floats away, it will carry the written wish of a participant.
Assistant Town Manager Roberta Orsini will lead a group on shore and out in canoes and kayaks to help launch the boat lanterns and collecting them after they burn out. The sky lanterns will be released by Harland Goodwin of Spring Hill restaurant, and Dave Stansfield, a SoBo Board member representing the South Berwick Food Pantry.
“I imagine the crowds will witness the peace and beauty of water lanterns bobbing on the waters and lanterns rising into the sky,” said Colman.
After all these pieces were set in place, a few of the Fest planners decided to add an AfterGlow Party to close out the evening inside.
While listening to Pub Lunch, a local band donating their talents, adults will be invited to have “lantinis” in the adult room and kids will be given a free movie, mats and babysitting in a neighboring children’s area.
“We came up with the idea of lantinis as a great way to close out the night,” said Mimi Abell, another volunteer planner. “After an evening of celebrating outside, we can all come into the restaurant and relax in the afterglow of a job well done.”
For more information contact Molly Colman at or 603-969-1179.
Photo caption: Jayden, a 3-year-old of So. Berwick makes a lantern at a Hot Summer Nights concert in preparation for the Aug. 25 LanternFest at Spring Hill in South Berwick. (Courtesy photo)

Wells Reserve Marks 25 Years

The Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve marks its 25th anniversary with tours, talks, and special activities at the Wells Reserve at Laudholm on August 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For information, visit or call 207-646-1555.
Bring your lunch for a noontime talk, “Wells Reserve, Then and Now,” with Mort Mather and Paul Dest. Mather, founder and first president of Laudholm Trust, will return to the place he helped preserve to recall the against-the-odds community effort to protect a coastal oasis in Wells. Dest, 10-year director of the Wells Reserve, will carry the story through the years since the Wells Reserve’s creation, following the evolution of an organization increasingly involved with protecting coastal resources throughout southern Maine.
At 1 p.m., join the Wells Reserve staff for a 1-hour behind-the-scenes tour. The historic Laudholm Farm campus was restored and adapted to support a modern mission of research, education, and stewardship. Activities featured on the tour include observing plankton through a microscope, finding out how scientists use fyke nets to catch fish, seeing birds up close, exploring the specialty library, and learning why Laudholm was such a successful progressive farm a century ago.
At your own pace, trace the history of New England’s landscape from the last ice age to the recent conservation movement by viewing the Changing Landscapes exhibit in the Visitor Center, open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
As always, miles of walking trails will be open from 7 a.m. to sunset. Visit several habitats and enjoy glimpses of wildlife along the way. Trails feature a network of interpretive signs that cover a range of natural history topics and Discovery Backpacks are available to check out for a small fee.
The Wells Reserve was dedicated on August 31, 1986, after a grassroots drive to protect Laudholm Farm grew into a local, state, and federal collaboration to establish Maine’s only estuarine research reserve. The Wells Reserve at Laudholm has become a leader in salt marsh research, environmental education, water protection, and land conservation, all while maintaining one of the region’s most important historic farm sites.
The work of the Wells Reserve is made possible by Laudholm Trust, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organized in 1982 to protect two estuaries and a historic saltwater farm. Over the years, members of Laudholm Trust have continued to provide vital monetary and in-kind support to the Wells Reserve. This local support enables the Wells Reserve to receive additional funds from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
The Wells Reserve at Laudholm is located just off U.S. Route 1 near the Wells-Kennebunk line.

Ogunquit Museum to Host 7th Annual ‘Almost Labor Day Auction’

The 7th annual Ogunquit Museum of American Art (OMAA) Almost Labor Day Auction takes place Saturday, September 3 from 5 to 8:30 p.m. Held at the Museum, at 543 Shore Road in Ogunquit, the Auction is the Museum’s most significant fund-raiser of the season. Last year’s Auction brought in more than $50,000 in support of the OMAA’s continued operation and made it possible for the Museum to open its 2011 season on May 1st, also supporting several specific conservation and exhibition costs.
This year’s signature image is Will Barnet’s Between Life and Life (1978, lithograph 28” x 30”). The renowned artist Will Barnet is celebrating his 100th birthday in 2011 and is considered a dean of American art, working at the forefront for more than seven decades. The live Auction will include this piece and 40 other works of original art in various media by well-known local, Maine and national artists including Kate Doyle, DeWitt Hardy and Thomas Connelly.
The Museum welcomes a new auctioneer for the 2011 event: Stuart Slavid, vice president and senior auctioneer for Skinner Auctioneers and Appraisers of Antiques and Fine Art, Boston. For the first time, the Almost Labor Day Auction artworks will be displayed on the Museum’s website, for a month preceding the event. The Museum will also exhibit the works in its galleries for 10 days prior to the auction.
“As a direct result of the funds raised in last year’s action the Museum opened on May 1st this year, and thanks to the earlier opening welcomed more than 1,000 visitors including several school groups,” said Ron Crusan, Museum Director. “It is my hope that we will continue to be able to open May 1st to allow local residents to visit the Museum more freely, offer increased opportunity for visits by area school groups and entice more early season visitors to explore the treasures we offer. We encourage everyone to attend the Auction and support the event in any way they can.”
A Silent Auction and cocktail reception starts the evening. Tickets are $50 ($135 Patron)
For information about tickets, silent auction donations, Program advertising and other event details, contact the OMAA, 207-646-4909.
2011 OMAA exhibitions through October 31 include Tradition and Excellence: Building an American Modernist Collection, Highlights from the Permanent Collection, The Question of Drawing (through August 21), Jack Levine, Aronson to Aronson: The Lineage of Expressionism, Drawn to Modernism, and Henry Strater: The Drawing Tradition. The Ogunquit Museum of American Art is located at 543 Shore Road in Ogunquit. Open daily, Mon.-Sat. 10-5; Sun. 1-5. For more information, visit or call 207-646-4909.
Photo caption: “Between Life and Life” by Will Barnet (1978, lithograph, 28” x 30”), the signature image of the 7th annual Ogunquit Museum of American Art “Almost Labor Day Auction” on September 3, 2011. (Courtesy photo)