July 14, 2013

Dresden SummerFest brings out hometown history, fun

By Susan McMillan smcmillan@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

DRESDEN — The sun was shining, there was a hint of a breeze off the Kennebec River, and a bagpiper was competing with the bleating of goats.

click image to enlarge

John Sczymecki, of Hideway Farms in Topsham, pulls visitors at the Dresden SummerFest on Sunday at the Pownalborough Court House in Dresden with his team of Belgians.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

click image to enlarge

Jay Robbins, right, of the Lincoln County Historical Association, gives Eric Barter, left, and his daughter, Eliza, a tour of the courtroom at the Pownalborough Court House in Dresden. The grounds of the 18th Century building that served as an inn, court and home hosted Dresden Summer Fest on Sunday.

Staff photo by Andy Molloy

Nancy Cote’s five grandchildren were fascinated by the goats, watching them munch on hay in a temporary enclosure on the front lawn of the Pownalborough Courthouse.

Cote, a Dresden resident, said she brought her grandchildren to Dresden SummerFest to enjoy a nice summer day and meet people from the community.

“It’s a great place to bring the kids,” Cote said. “Things like this, they get to commune with the animals. And you don’t get to hear bagpipes very often.”

SummerFest also featured wagon rides, a tour of the courthouse and a talk by historian Thomas Desjardin about Dresden residents who fought in the Civil War.

Pat Theriault said the town’s Arts and Recreation Committee puts on the event to highlight the courthouse, which was built in 1761, and the trail system in the area and to give residents and visitors a free outing, though there were also vendors selling leather goods and fresh produce.

“Come out, have a fun day, meet your neighbors,” Theriault said in describing the purpose of SummerFest.

The Dresden-based raptor education organization Wind Over Wings put on a presentation about several birds of prey that can no longer live in the wild, culminating with a golden eagle, Skywalker.
The organization’s founder, Hope Douglas, said Skywalker was shot and had one of its wings amputated nearly 20 years ago, and it took a long time for the eagle to trust humans.

“He made that trip from being really rip-roaring angry to accepting the life he had,” Douglas said. “It wasn’t what he wanted, but he was willing to learn a whole new life.”

In the audience were Sandra Romano and her 8-year-old daughter, Kaia Anspacher, who live in the Virgin Islands and are visiting friends in Maine. Kaia said she was impressed to hear that a golden eagle can crush a coyote’s skull in its talons and that the birds have been significant in many cultures, from Mexico to Ancient Rome.

“I liked them telling us about the stories,” she said. “How much eagles matter in the world.”

Susan McMillan — 621-5645

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