A “Celebration of Community” will mark the opening of North Yarmouth’s Wescustogo Hall & Community Center Saturday, Nov. 2. Alex Lear / The Forecaster

NORTH YARMOUTH — A stunned Anne Graham sadly viewed the charred remains of Wescustogo Hall that August morning in 2013, hours after fire had destroyed the venerable town gathering place.

“This is really devastating for the community; this is our town center,” the former selectwoman and state representative said at the time.

Fast forward six years and Graham is the coordinator of the “Celebration of Community” that will herald the brand-new Wescustogo Hall & Community Center on Saturday, Nov. 2. Completed at the end of September by Barrett Made, a Portland-based design and build firm, the new structure at 120 Memorial Highway (Route 9) sits next to the renovated former North Yarmouth Memorial School.

“I felt like we had lost a member of our family,” Graham recalled in an interview Oct. 23. “Now we have the member back. … And I think a lot of praise or thanks needs to go to all the people who stuck with it, who worked on making this happen and believing it could happen.”

The $3.4 million bonded project, which voters in June 2018 narrowly approved, is not about a building, but rather what North Yarmouth wants to be as a community, Graham said.

Event organizers “want to celebrate the community’s effort … to rebuild Wescustogo, and to reinvigorate what was North Yarmouth Memorial School,” she said. “We wanted to … give people a taste of what the community center will be like moving forward.”

The completion of Wescustogo “feels very satisfying,” said Town Manager Rosemary Roy, who started in that role in 2014, at the time School Administrative District 51 closed the school and transferred it to the town. “Seeing it come full circle is wonderful. … I’m excited for the community; it’s really going to be a wonderful place for North Yarmouth to have.”

Graham said her aim with the ceremony was to touch on the past, the present and the future, and to showcase the community’s various talented people.

“Our goal is to celebrate all that we have in our community, and say ‘we did it,'” Graham said.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony at the front entrance kicks things off at 9:45 a.m., and various committee tables will be set up in the lobby. The 10-11 a.m. opening ceremony will include a presentation of colors, pledge of allegiance, national anthem, welcoming remarks by Graham, a legislative certificate from Rep. Braden Sharpe (D-Durham), talks by several residents and the introduction of Lisa Thompson, Wescustogo’s new director.

The 11 a.m. to noon block will include pickleball in the gym, face painting, juggling and the Greely Jazz Combo. Lunch will be served and kites flown indoors at noon. Daytime activities, which will include ping-pong and performances by the Troubadours and Flight 317 conclude at 3 p.m. A spaghetti supper hosted by the North Yarmouth Fire Company begins at 5 p.m., followed by a contra dance demonstration at 6:30 p.m. and the Captain Bangaroo band from 7:30-9 p.m.

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