WINDHAM – Despite a band of thunderstorms and lingering rain that rolled in mid-afternoon, Saturday’s Windham Summerfest was well attended and offered much fun for area residents.

Starting with the Windham Lions Club pancake breakfast, the schedule offered music, games, an hour-long parade, carnival rides and food. And according to Windham Parks and Recreation Director Brian Ross, one of the organizers of the annual event, the event drew thousands to the high school complex.

At 2 p.m., large crowds turned out for the Casco Bay Concert Band, a 70-piece big band.

“That was our biggest group performing. And people seemed to enjoy that,” Ross said.

However, with rain coming, the crowd thinned out soon after the 3 p.m. frog-jumping contest, which was won by 10-year-old Hannah Maurais, whose forest-found frog traveled 46 feet, 4 inches in 15 seconds in the category for kids 6 and older. In the 5 and under category, 4-year-old William Levigne’s frog jumped a total of 28 feet, 5 inches to capture top honors and a gift certificate to the Ice Cream Dugout in Windham.

The rain started falling during the Windham Chamber Singers’ performance at 4 p.m. and organizers, noting the damp forecast, decided to cancel evening performances and the McGoldrick Brothers Blasting Services-sponsored fireworks, which were postponed to dusk on Sunday night.

“Lots of people turned out Sunday night, despite the rescheduling, so we were happy to see that,” Ross said.

While not an official part of Summerfest, the Civil War Encampment sponsored by the Windham Historical Society and held at the Society’s headquarters within walking distance of Summerfest, was deemed a success by organizers.

Civil War-era re-enactors from the Company A, 3rd Maine Regiment, based in Bath, spent Saturday and Sunday in the field behind the Society’s headquarters. The group set up canvas tents and demonstrated rifle firing, cooking, surgery and answered questions from the public about life as a Civil War soldier.

“It went super,” said organizer David Tanguay. “It was really more than we expected from the 3rd Maine, they really outdid themselves.”

The rains came and washed out some of the programs, but according to Tanguay, the re-enactors bravely soldiered on.

“The 3rd Maine didn’t have any trouble, they’re accustomed to getting showers. It did wash out one of the events Saturday evening around the campfire since it rained until around 9 p.m., but they sat around the campfire until midnight,” Tanguay said.

Tanguay said the historical society, which is hoping to get Planning Board approval to start expanding its Village Green concept in order to bring historic structures to the several-acre parcel behind its headquarters, will likely plan events to coincide with Summerfest from now on, due to the event’s success.

“We were really pleased with the response, got a lot of exposure, got to talk to a lot of people about the Village Green,” Tanguay said. “So I’d say yes, we’re going to use our property to our best advantage to get it out there in the public arena and also present historically significant events.”

Conall Matthews, 7, of Windham, uses a big puff of air to spur his entry, named “Slimey” in the frog-jumping competition, one of the highlights of SaturdayÕs Windham Summerfest. (Photos by Rich Obrey)
Representing a local branch of the U.S. Sanitary Commission, groups of women who toured Civil War camps to inspect and comment on the health and welfare of Northern soldiers are, from left, Carolyn Lawson, Delle Pierce, Deb Bergeron and Joanna Buckley all dressed in period costumes.
A highlight for visitors to the Third Maine encampment  at Summerfest was the re-enacting of a Civil War skirmish, featuring the slow, laborious reloading of the long rifles, and the resulting roar of flame and smoke from the muzzle.
Braeden Caron, 7, of Windham Cub Scout Pack 805, takes one for the team as he disappears in a wall of water, all to help raise money for scouting.
Sarah Rickett, 11, of Windham, tries her shooting skills at the fundraising booth set up by the Windham Youth Lacrosse program. (Photos by Rich Obrey)
Dillon Foley, 8, of Windham, uses a puff of air to achieve the lift-off of his amphibious entry in the frog-jumping competition at Summerfest.

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