– SHANNON BRYAN

Staff Writer

Most people wouldn’t choose to be hosed down in public. At least that’s what they’d say if you asked them.

But every year children and adults alike find themselves at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, under a tall ladder being drenched from overhead by a fireman’s hose.

The group hosing marks the end of Cape Elizabeth Family Fun Day – and it’s the fire station’s attempt to clean up the event just before it: Fun in the Foam.

Locals turn out in droves to play in piles of firefighter foam sprayed from trucks at scenic Fort Williams. But long before the foamy finale, the park fills with families for a days worth of events including games, food, a rock climbing wall and talent show.

The fun kicks off at 9 a.m. Saturday with hot hair balloon rides. While the balloons are tethered to the ground to keep them from wandering too far, they’ll still offer a stellar and not-often-seen view of Portland Head Light and the coast. The ride takes about ten minutes (weather permitting) and run until 11 a.m. The suggested donation is $5 for kids, $10 for adults and proceeds benefit the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital.

At 10:30 a.m. the parade starts moving, beginning on Shore Road by The Cookie Jar (554 Shore Road). Little league teams, marching bands and local mascots like “Crackers” from the Portland Pirates and “Oakie” from Oakhurst take over the street to entertain their Cape Elizabeth neighbors. The festive procession ends at Fort Williams Park and Family Fun Day officially opens for the year.

The annual event has been going on for over 20 years and the atmosphere still harkens back to community get-togethers of yesteryear.

“We try for an old time town fair, without the rides,” said Steve Culver, a Cape Elizabeth resident and one of this year’s organizers. “More like a local town fair. That makes it simple and it kind of comes together every year.”

Some of the classic activities return every year, like the ring toss, the train ride and the bottle throw. But new entertainment is added too, like this year’s Monkey Motion, an innovative jumping system, and the rock-climbing wall brought in by the Maine Rock Gym.

Also a new addition this year: the Cape Elizabeth Family Fun Day Dog Show.

Beginning at noon, this free and friendly canine competition will offer local dogs and owners plenty of entertainment and perhaps a little glory. Show categories include: “The Long and Short of It” with prizes for tallest dog, lowest dog, longest tail, curliest tail, waggiest tail, longest ears, pointiest ears, oldest and youngest dog; “Beauty and the Beast” will award prizes for furriest, fluffiest, shaggiest, cutest, most beautiful, Miss Congeniality and Puppy that most makes you want one; “Most Likely to Succeed” will judge for best trick, best bark, best manners, best stay, best handshake, best educated and best walk; and “Fashionista” contestants will win prizes for most stylish, most like handler, most like a celebrity, most like a TV/movie character, best hero, best villain, best historical figure and best political figure.

The dog show is free to enter and open to anyone – and it’s not Westminster, it’s all in good fun.

Once the talented pooches have their fun, talented people can showcase their wonders during the talent show at 3 p.m.

All day there will be arts and crafts available for perusal, game booths set up by sports and music boosters and food offered by community-service and religious groups. “It’s to get the community together and celebrate,” said Culver. “And to raise money for non-profits.”

While Family Fun Day aims to support many of the local groups and organizations in Cape Elizabeth, all are welcome, regardless of what town they’re from. “The more, the merrier,” as Culver noted.

And a day spent lifted in a hot air balloon, tossing rings and water balloons, climbing walls and watching talent shows is a day well spent. And it can only end one way: covered in foam.

Fun in the Foam starts at 4 p.m. and is the final, wonderfully messy event of the day.

Staff Writer Shannon Bryan can be contacted at 822-4056 or at:

[email protected]

CAPE ELIZABETH FAMILY FUN DAY

When: All day Saturday, June 12. Balloon rides begin at 9 a.m.; parade at 10:30 a..m.; dog show at noon; Fun in the Foam at 4 p.m. and loads of other games and events throughout the day.

Where: Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth

How Much: Many events/activities free/small donations for others. Balloon rides $5 for kids/$10 for adults

Food options: Plenty of local groups and organizations with food booths

Parking: Ample parking on the fields in Fort Williams

Don’t miss: The hot air balloon rides in the morning and Fun in the Foam in the afternoon. Looks like you’ll just have to hang out all day.

Kid-friendly factor: It doesn’t get much more kid friendly than this.

Benefit: Multiple Cape Elizabeth clubs and organizations; some events support national non-profits

In case of bad weather: The event will be canceled

More info: capeelizabeth.com/family_fun_day/home.html. To register in advance for the dog show contact Karen Pride at 232-2579. To register in advance for the talent show contact Frank or Debbie Butterworth at 767-3571