GORHAM – Building on another success, organizers of the annual Gorham Founders Festival are already gearing up for next year’s event.

“The weather was excellent and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves,” said Darryl Wright, director of the two-day festival, which is sponsored by the Westbrook Gorham Community Chamber of Commerce. “Discussions have already begun about ways we can continue to grow the festival for next year.”

This year’s festival was held on July 25 and 26. Features included amusement rides, food, vendor booths, entertainment and fireworks.

“The festival fireworks were great,” Wright said. “It is one of the things I enjoy the most, listening to the crowd ooh and aah.”

The festival honors the founding families of Gorham, which was incorporated as a town 250 years ago, in 1764. An opening reception on July 25, held under a tent, celebrated the Hamblen family, early settlers in Gorham. Calvin Hamblen, a former legislator and longtime town councilor, was presented with a flag that had flown over Fort Hill Park. It’s the site of the garrison where early settlers, including Jacob Hamblen, lived several years for protection in the wilderness.

Town Councilor Suzanne Phillips read a history of the Hamblen family and Phillip Gagnon, a former Town Council chairman, told about the incorporation of the town in 1764.

Gagnon said the town’s first settler, John Michael Phinney, was chosen as moderator for its first town meeting in 1765, and today Michael John Phinney is chairman of the Town Council.

A bronze plaque, which will be placed in the Gorham Municipal Center, commemorating the incorporation of the town was unveiled at the festival reception.

“The opening reception went very well and I heard great compliments from those that attended,” Wright said. “We had a great showing of support at the reception from the Town Council, the School Department, as well as members of the founding families and the community.”

Wright praised those who made the festival possible including public works, recreation, police and fire departments. Festival volunteers included Vinny Nielsen, Andrew Cook, Dawn Caldwell, Denise Cameron, Jessica Szafranski, Tabitha Swanson, Dennis Dalton, Keith Eustis, Phillips, and Gagnon.

A crowd enjoys a stage show on July 25 at Gorham Founders Festival.Amanda Howe of Gorham with her children, Emma Howe, 2½, and Hannah Howe, 7 months, attend Gorham Founders Festival on July 25. Michael Phinney, Town Council chairman, presents Calvin Hamblen, a former town councilor and legislator, with a flag that was flown over Fort Hill. The Hamblen family members were honorees at this year’s festival.


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