Scottish and Irish music and dancing energize a party supporting the York County Community Action Corp.

It was the 1983 film “Local Hero,” which takes place in a village in Scotland, that inspired York County Community Action Corp. employee Brad Bohon to suggest a ceilidh as a fundraiser.

“Almost half of Mainers have an Irish or Scottish connection, and a ceilidh sounded like a novel idea for a fundraiser,” Bohon said.

A ceilidh (pronounced KAY-lee) is a Gaelic gathering that includes music, dancing and storytelling. York County Community Action’s second annual Fall Ceilidh at the Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport on Nov. 4 was exactly that, and the storytelling focused on the organization’s work with aging Mainers.

Nearly 300 people took part in the uplifting – and active – evening, with a couple solid hours of dancing led by the Irish trio Boghat and the Seacoast Set Dancers.

From sponsorships, ticket sales and a silent auction, the ceilidh brought in about $10,000 for York County’s umbrella organization for social services. About 120 sponsors and businesses contributed.

“We provide health insurance, education and social services, and we rely on the generosity of our neighbors,” said Barbara Crider, the organization’s executive director. “This special event benefits our elderly services, such as health care, transportation and fuel assistance.”

“It’s nice when you spend money on a night out to know that it’s going to a good cause,” said Maureen Schnellmann of Kennebunk, looking over the auction items.

“Your support tonight will allow us to continue the great work we do, and for that we’re grateful,” said volunteer coordinator Ericka Sanborn.

“It’s not just about putting fingers in the dyke,” said board member Don Burns of Parsonsfield. “It’s about making people whole.”

“This year, for the first time, people are able to register for heating assistance over the phone,” said board member Pat McLaughlin, noting that numbers for the Low-Income Heating Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) are growing.

“We really care about the people we serve,” said Robin Bibber of the Thriving in Place program. “It’s designed to help elders and people who are chronically disabled to be able to stay home.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer from Scarborough. She can be reached at:

[email protected]


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