JAY – Dressed from head to toe in an eye-squint super duper bright pink gown, Tim Berry is an unexpected vision in pink.
Walking along Route 4 then Route 2 then Route 1 in a 300-mile march in drag across Maine, Tim Berry wants to raise money for United Way while conducting a little social experiment of his own. His “Walk Across Maine Drag-a-thon is a serious artistic investigation into Maine culture and how it relates to something typically outside of itself (like a drag queen), trying to do something good within/for it,” he said earlier.
Berry, a University of Maine at Farmington senior art student from Orono, started his walk on Thursday from the University of Southern Maine campus in Gorham wearing a pink gown he made.
This is not Berry’s first art project fundraiser for United Way. On Nov. 19 and 20, 2008, he endured temperatures in the teens through the night on a teeter totter dressed as Marie Antoinette on the UMF campus. He earned more than $1,000 for the United Way of the Tri-Valley Area and two big boxes full of food for the Care and Share Food.
“It’s been a mostly positive experience,” he said as he set a good pace along Route 4 even though strong gusts of wind made walking in a long gown difficult. While a few people yelled some nasties out their car window as they drove by on his first day, the kindness of strangers has kept a smile on his face despite the 30 miles a day of walking.
In Livermore Falls on Saturday morning, the American Legion Hall’s veterans were holding a pancake breakfast and invited him in for coffee. A few others have given him water and one woman gave him a granola bar.
He has friends and family helping to document the experience with video cameras as he stops to talk to people. As Berry walks along, he often holds up a pink gloved hand to wave. Some honk back. On his back a wooden sign announces “Walk Maine in Drag 4 Charity.”
He had originally intended to camp out, but after his first day of marching in the 40-degree rain, the realization that wearing cold wet clothes with no hot shower, change of clothes and a decent night’s sleep for two weeks would make his drag-a-thon’s finish highly unlikely.
Already a knee is complaining so a question mark has entered Berry’s resolve.
“I want to keep going but my body may not,” he said. “I’ll just keep going, take it one day at a time and see what happens.”
Hoping to make it to at least his hometown of Orono by Wednesday, Berry’s original goal is to make it to the University of Maine at Presque Isle campus on Feb. 24.
Berry hopes his project will raise $1,000 for each of the United Way agencies across Maine. Anyone wishing to donate to his cause, links are provide below:
(The last web site listed is for the United Way Portland area)
USM- UMF via Rt. 4
Day 1- Thursday Feb 12 USM Gorham to Auburn area-30 miles
Day 2- Friday Feb 13 Auburn to Livermore Falls area- 30 miles
Day 3- Saturday Feb 14 Livermore Falls to UMFarmington- 15 miles
UMF – UMO via Rt. 2
Day 4- Sunday Feb 15 UMF to Skowhegan area- 27 miles
Day 6- Tuesday Feb 17 Newport to Hermon area- 21 miles
Day 7- Wednesday Feb 18 Hermon area to UMO- 15 miles
UMO- Houlton via Rt. 2
Day 8- Thursday Feb 19 UMO to Enfield area- 30 miles
Day 9- Friday Feb 20 Enfield area to Mattawamkeag- 22 miles
Day 10- Saturday Feb 21 Mattwamkeag to Reed Area (via rt2a NOT Rt2)- 22 miles
Day 11- Sunday Feb 22 Reed Area to Houlton(staying on rt2a)- 34 miles
Houlton to UMPI via Rt. 1
Day 12- Monday Feb 23 Houlton to Bridgewater- 21 miles
Day 13- Tuesday Feb 24 Bridgewater to UMPI- 21 miles LAST DAY!!!