Sunny Days, Spooky Nights

Usually by Oct. 1, I’m writing about Indian Summer and the melancholy of summer’s passing, but at press time it is a sunny 70-degree day, the delphiniums and lavender have produced a second round of flowers and I’m still rocking my flip-flops. Old-timers have warned of a cold, long winter but for now I’m just going to enjoy this fabulous summery weather and resist the urge to decorate for Halloween.

Speaking of it, though, there are lots of upcoming events planned for All Hallow’s Eve, from the annual costume party at the Old Town Hall to a tour of our old historic graveyards. I’ll keep you posted on all of them, including the rumors of a possible “haunted pub crawl” through the back streets and dark alleys of Bridgton. OK, so there aren’t many dark alleys around here but it’ll be fun to wander the streets under a full moon wondering who or what could jump out from the shadows…Can you tell I love Halloween?

Future Plans

If you are reading this column you likely have an interest in Bridgton’s future, and now is the prime time for you to get involved in some exciting local projects. Along with the bi-weekly charettes being held at local restaurants and pubs to discuss marketing, tourism and the comprehensive plan for commercial development, one of the big events on the horizon is how to redevelop the Memorial School parcel.

Now that the environmental site reviews have been finished, the town needs to decide what to do with the prime real estate that lies underneath the outdated, dilapidated school. This land is situated at the intersection of Depot Street and Stevens Brook school, and is perfectly located for commercial manufacturing, retail or nonprofit development. As voters who hold the future of the project in our hands, we should be involved in how the property is developed. The future is wide open for this parcel, and the town is seeking input. Join us for a site walk of the property on Wednesday, Oct. 9, at 4 p.m., followed by the public charette at Stevens Brook School at 5 p.m., where food and drinks will be served.

Neon Night

One of the highlights of the Halloween season is the annual “Neon Night” in Pondicherry Park. Held by the Lakes Environmental Association, this family-friendly event is designed to “light up the night” and judging by the turnout at the last one, it indeed does. More than 200 people turned out for a neon-lit walk through Pondicherry Park, exploring the secrets of the Maine woods after dark and sipping on hot chocolate.

Join the revelers on Friday, Oct. 25, at 7 p.m. as everyone dons neon necklaces, tiaras, earrings, eye glasses, bracelets, rings, and glow-in-the-dark balloons provided by LEA and enters the park from the kiosk at the Dunning Bridge, then proceeds along the pathways to the old homestead for a moment of silent appreciation. The glow will create a magical illusion in the dark park, and you and your family will love it. This event is free and open to the public, and donations will be accepted to support the work of LEA throughout the year. The rain date will be the following night, also at 7 p.m.

Community Kettle

The Bridgton Community Center provides a free, home-cooked dinner to any and all every Thursday night. I have been lucky to have prepared some of the meals and eaten many of them, and they are delicious. Last week, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church made traditional shepherd’s pie with warm rolls and salad, and this week the Congregational Church steps up. You know these ladies can cook. Join us from 5-6 p.m. for food and conversation at the BCC on Depot Street.

Open Enrollment

The changes in the federal health care system can be confusing, but representatives from the Southern Maine Agency of Aging are here to help. They are sponsoring an open enrollment for the new Medicare program, and it is free and open to the public.

Enrollment classes will be held on Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Oct. 17, 24 and 31, and also on Nov. 7, 14, and 21. Call 1-877-353-3771 to make an appointment.

Trek Triumph

Thanks to the hundreds of cyclists and hikers who showed up on a sunny September Saturday, the 13th annual Loon Echo Trek raised $77,000! Two hundred and forty riders participated in the event, which offered 25, 50 and 100-mile routes. Seventy two others hiked to the peak of Pleasant Mountain on the 6-mile loop over Loon Echo’s conservation land, then everyone met back at the Lodge at Shawnee Peak for music, barbecue and beer.

Brew Fest Success

We were graced with yet another flawless Saturday last weekend, and thousands of beer lovers descended on Point Sebago for the 10th annual Maine Lakes Brewfest. Revelers gathered under sunny skies and huge white tents to sample suds from craft brewers across New England, and from my unofficial observation it looked like at least 4,ooo people were there. It was a great day seeing old friends and tasting new beers. Congratulations to the Bridgton-Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce for pulling off such a fun, successful festival. See you next year!

The recently held Neon Night in Bridgton’s Pondicherry Park cast an artistic and eerie glow over the Bob Dunning Bridge. More than 200 people showed up to the Lakes Environmental Association-sponsored event designed to “light up the night.”

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