Shine on

As someone who has used solar power in my home for more than 10 years, I love telling people that yes, using the sun to generate electricity really works. I have written about living off the grid before, and gotten lots of responses and questions from readers.

Now that the general public is starting to become more aware of the looming energy crisis, this is the time to explore alternative energy options. Until the genius comes along who discovers or invents the new “green” miracle, we must use the resources we have.

Bridgton resident Brook Sulloway wanted to build his own solar panels and came across the nonprofit Maine Solar Energy Association. This Harrington-based group holds workshops on how to build and install you own solar panels. Sulloway has invited them to Bridgton for a workshop Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 16 and 17, at the Bridgton Community Center on Depot Street.

You must preregister with Brook at 647-8596. The $75 fee includes lunch. Join the Solar Revolution, and you will save a lot more than that when you get your system up and going, because the sun always rises.

Well rooted

Shawnee Peak was the first ski resort in the state to generate 100 percent of its power from wind energy. This offset what would have been 2.2 million pounds of carbon dioxide from conventional sources, which is the equivalent of planting more than 150,000 trees.

Now the resort has donated $1,000 to the Maine Tree Restoration Project, run by the Royal River Youth Conservation Corps. The group used the money to buy more than 600 trees for a restoration project in North Yarmouth.

They planted the trees July 30 and 31 at the Old Town House Park, in an effort to improve water quality and wildlife habitat on the Royal River. Chet Homer and his staff are true stewards of Maine’s land, and we are lucky to have them here in Bridgton.

Creating and celebrating

Bridgton’s Gallery 302 is hosting a town-wide open studio day Saturday, Aug. 9, featuring the works of local artists in many mediums. You can visit working artists in their studios, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and watch them paint and create.

This is a great opportunity for art lovers to get up close and personal, and for artisans to showcase their individual spaces where the magic happens. Participating artists include including woodworkers, painters, jewelry making, potters, glass blowers, fiber artists, printmakers and more.

Maps are available at Gallery 302 and at the Greater Bridgton Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce on Route 302 next to Hannaford Brothers. Call the gallery for more information at 647-2787.

The guild is also celebrating the fifth anniversary of Gallery 302 with a big party for its artists and patrons at the Highland Lake Resort Friday, Aug. 22, for dinner, drinks and entertainment.

Guild members get in free, and spouses, partners and friends are welcome to attend for $15. If you want to go, though, you must make a reservation by Aug. 8. Guests can prepay by mailing a check to Gallery 302, 112 Main Street, Bridgton, ME 04009 or by dropping off check at the gallery.

Guild members must also sign up, so call 647-2787 to let them know to expect you. The art scene in Bridgton is thriving because of places like Gallery 302. Congratulations on its first five years.

Take a chance

Readers can stay warm or have a fling if they are the winners of a raffle to benefit the Bridgton Hospital Guild.

The guild is selling 1,200 raffle tickets called Winner’s Choice. Each ticket has the possibility of winning one of four items: a $1,500 weekend ski package at the East Slope Condominiums at Shawnee Peak (including adult ski passes), a $1,000 US savings bond donated by Key Bank, 200 gallons of home heating oil donated by the Woodstock Oil Company or $600 in cash donated by the Bridgton Hospital Guild.

Tickets are $10 each and available by mail or at Bridgton Hospital. Drawings for the prizes will be Monday, Sept. 8, and winners will be notified that day.

To order by mail send your check for the number of tickets you wish to: Bridgton Hospital Guild, Bridgton Hospital, 10 Hospital Dr., Bridgton ME 04009. Tickets will be sent by return mail. For further information call 647-4506.

Weir here

Things should get pretty interesting in the hills this weekend as the ambitious Up North festival comes to the Ossipee Valley Fairgrounds in Hiram. From Friday, Aug. 8, through Sunday, Aug. 10, the midway will become a colorful “Shakedown Street” and three stages will host music from morning to night.

Featuring bands like the Wailers (as in Bob Marley and…), the Grateful Dead’s former rhythm guitarist Bob Weir and Jon Fishman, formerly of Phish, the festival will bring thousands of music lovers to our little corner of the world.

The organizers are promising a “carbon neutral” event, with vendors selling organic foods and booths set up demonstrating alternative energy solutions.

As I have said before and will surely say again, “Don’t hate on Hiram.” My original Maine homestead is there, and it is a quiet, quaint Maine town.

The most serene stretch of the Saco River weaves through it, and the wide sandy beach below the Hiram Dam is beautiful. Mt. Cutler is one of the more challenging hikes in the White Mountain foothills and has panoramic views.

Plus, Hiram is on the way to Cornish, which if you have not visited lately will probably surprise you. There are several Portland-worthy restaurants, one of which is run by a former chef at Fore Street, and many charming antique stores.

Why not plan a weekend road trip to the fairgrounds on South Hiram Road and support a great festival? This could become an annual event if it is a success, and we can always use the money that people bring to the area.


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