Town gears up for Chester Greenwood Day events

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FARMINGTON – It’s that time of year again.

Cold temperatures, festive decorations and holiday sales can mean only one thing; Chester Greenwood is coming to town this Saturday.

The day commemorates local inventor Chester Greenwood, who created the first pair of earmuffs out of bits of wire and fur when he was 15 in 1873. While the state of Maine declared Dec. 21 to be “Chester Greenwood Day” in 1977, Farmington has traditionally held its celebrations on the first Saturday of the month.

Clyde Ross will portray earmuff inventor Chester Greenwood again for Saturday’s parade, beginning at 11 a.m.

As always, the signature centerpiece of Dec. 6 will be the famous annual parade, which begins in the Mallett School parking lot at 11 p.m. and winds through the downtown to end in front of the courthouse at roughly noon. There will be a brief flag raising ceremony at the courthouse, as well as some history from Paul Mills.

The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce is sponsoring the parade, as well as a host of other events.

At 10 a.m. on the Franklin Savings Bank administrative building’s first floor, gingerbread houses for the 2nd Annual Gingerbread House Contest will be available for viewing until 2 p.m. The first floor of that building is accessible through either the Front Street entrance or an elevator ride down from the parking lot behind the Franklin Savings Bank Loan Building on Main Street. Entrees can be dropped off at 8:30 a.m. and will be judged in both the adult and youth categories at 9:30 a.m.

According to FCCC Executive Director Lorna Nichols, last year’s contest, which is sponsored by both FSB and FCCC, featured 22 entrees. The chamber will also be selling long-sleeved shirts and Kingfield POPs gift bags, containing tickets, out of the FSB building.

Nichols also noted that her organization will be continuing to accept donations for their holiday basket drive. These baskets, containing several days worth of food for the holidays, are being donated to needy families in Franklin County. Nichols doubled last year’s goal of 25 baskets to 50, anticipating high demand.

“It’s going very, very well,” she said, “the response, in terms of donations and people calling in to request help, had been overwhelming.”

Both businesses and individuals have been contributing, Nichols said. She hopes to hit the goal of 50 baskets, each the equivalent of a $25 donation, and perhaps do even more.

On Chester Greenwood Day, horse and wagon rides will be running along Front Street from noon to 1 p.m., beginning at the FSB building entrance. Then, on the fourth floor of that building at 12:30 p.m., taste tests for the Chili Contest will run until 1 p.m. for anyone interested in trying some local chili. Entrees for that contest should be dropped off at 11:30 a.m. The fourth floor is accessible through either the Main Street parking lot behind FSB’s loans building or by the Front Street entrance.

A cake, donated by Hannaford, will also be served at 1 p.m.

“You can go and pretty much have lunch,” Nichols said with a laugh.

Other events include the Festival of Trees in the Granary Brew Pub and Restaurant, organized by the Farmington Rotary Club, with viewing of the decorated Christmas trees starting at 9 a.m and the benefit auction of the trees later that evening. 

The Polar Bear Dip, featuring brave swimmers and the icy-cold Clearwater Lake, will be held at 3 p.m. The local American Legion Post 28 will hold a crafts sale all day at the American Legion Hall on High Street, and the Farmington Historical Society will be selling wreaths all day out of the Old North Church. The Ski Museum of Maine, on Church Street, will be open all day serving refreshments.

Downtown businesses will also get involved with sales, food and music. 

“It’s just a fun time,” Nichols said. “Very exciting, very festive.”

The Polar Bears took to the very cold Clearwater Lake last year and will do it again this year at 3 p.m. Saturday.

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