Marcia Blanchard said she and her husband, Willard, have missed town meeting once since they moved back to Windham in 1975.

“You can’t complain if you don’t go and vote,” said Blanchard, 69, who was sick and in the hospital the year they didn’t attend the meeting. “I always felt it was an obligation I had to the town.”

This year, town meeting coincides with another definitive community event, Windham’s Summerfest.

According to the town’s charter, town meeting must be held on the Saturday after the second Tuesday in June. By the time Town Manager Tony Plante discovered that Summerfest was scheduled for the same day, it was too late for the festival organizers to change the date.

Both the meeting, at the community center gym, and the Summerfest parade, which goes from the rotary at Route 202 to the high school, were scheduled to start at 10 a.m. on June 18, but Plante knew that wouldn’t work.

He thought of the town officials who are expected to be at the meeting, who typically participate in the parade. He also thought of residents, like the Blanchards, who would want to attend both events.

Normally, Marcia Blanchard said, she would happily forgo the parade to partake in the democratic process. Several weeks ago, however, Clarence Wisecup, who’s organizing the parade, asked the Blanchards if they would escort the grand marshal in their red Mustang convertible.

At the time, they had no reason not to say yes.

“Then I found out town meeting is the same day,” Blanchard said.

Although the Blanchards won’t try to go to town meeting before lining up for the parade, others might try to make it to both.

Plante arranged for town meeting to start at 9 a.m. — an hour earlier than usual — and the Summerfest organizers pushed the parade back until 11 a.m.

Plante, who has been Windham’s manager for 15 years, said he has been to town meetings that have lasted 20 minutes and others than have gone on for a few hours.

To make sure that the meeting and parade don’t overlap, he said, residents at town meeting could immediately vote to adjourn to another day.

But that will be up to them to decide. He just hopes they don’t rush to vote because of the scheduling conflict.

“They’re both very important events to the community, for very different reasons,” Plante said. “We don’t want to short-circuit the budget process, and we don’t want to shortchange Summerfest.”

Staff Writer Leslie Bridgers can be contacted at: 791-6364 or at:

[email protected]