Summerfest and AT informational center grand opening July 19

By Mike Lange
Staff Writer

    MONSON — Summerfest, a two-day event which usually swells the population of Monson considerably in mid-July, will be even bigger this year.
    As part of the celebration, the Appalachian Trail Information Center will have its grand opening at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 19 at the Monson Center for Community and Commerce.

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    AND THEY’RE OFF — Runners take off on the first leg of the Slate Man Triathlon during last year’s Summerfest.

    The ceremony will include the official unveiling of a mural titled “The Bridge” by John Bozin of Hebron Gallery Fine Art. The artwork is 200 square feet, so it is one of the largest compositions that Bozin has ever attempted. It depicts a portion of the AT that features old-growth forest as well as clear cutting.
    The Appalachian Trail Information Center project was spearheaded by Janet Sawyer, co-director of the Piscataquis County Economic Development Council. She applied for a grant from L.L. Bean on behalf of the Maine Appalachian Trail Club that paid for paint for the mural and signage for the center.
    Monson has been a key stop on the AT trail for decades, but this will be the first centralized “one-stop” center for information, according to Sawyer.
    In the meantime, all the popular Summerfest events will be back this weekend including the Lake Hebron Slate Man Triathlon on Saturday morning.

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    ROW, ROW, ROW YOUR BOAT — Or, technically, row “Anything that floats.” Last’s year’s event included a one-boy raft, three ladies from one family and seven kids in a homemade kayak.

    The challenging event starts with a two-mile run from the community center to Indian Point Loop, ending at Greenleaf landing. Then competitors have to kayak for a mile from the landing across Lake Hebron to the town beach, then jump on a bicycle and ride three miles back to the community center.
    Jack Daily of Salt Lake City won the triathlon for the fourth time last year with a time of 27:42.
    The top women’s competitor was Trisha Moulton of Abbot with a time of 36:24; and the team of Buck and Two Does – Mary McCauley, Kate Farnham and Rebecca Farnham – captured the team trophy with a time of 29:41.
    Registration for the triathlon starts at 7:15 a.m. and the race begins at 8 a.m. sharp.
    Other events this year include an appearance by authors Mark Nickerson and John Ford, a retired state trooper and former game warden, at the Monson Library at 11 a.m. They’ll relate some tales from the area included in their popular books. Nickerson penned “Blue Lights in the Night” and Ford wrote “Suddenly, the Cider Didn’t Taste So Good” and “The Cider Still Tastes Funny.”
    The colorful and comical “Anything That Floats” race launches at 2:30 p.m. on Lake Hebron from the post office parking lot and ends at the Lake Shore House dock.
    The rules require that boats be constructed of material “not originally intended for a boat or its flotation device.” In past years, entries included contraptions made from gallon water jugs bound together with duct tape.
    Also on the schedule are kids’ games for all age groups, a craft fair, cribbage tournament and fireworks.
    On Friday, July 18, there will also be an open house at the Monson Library from 4-6 p.m. to honor Van Wentworth for her 50 years of service as the town’s librarian.
    For more information, pick up a brochure at the Monson town office or visit and the Monson, Maine Facebook page.

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    CAN YOU HEAR ME? — Master of ceremonies John Wentworth was easy to spot at last year’s Summerfest, thanks to his fancy headgear.

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