By Barry Matulaitis, Staff Editor
FARMINGTON — Hundreds took in the 41st annual Chester Greenwood Day celebration Saturday as dozens of floats representing “Favorite Childhood Toy” paraded through the downtown.
After the parade, local historian Paul Mills read a proclamation recognizing Chester Greenwood. Greenwood, a Farmington resident, was the inventor of earmuffs in the early 20th century, and the annual celebration is on his birthday.
When they weren’t watching the parade, people had the opportunity to do their Christmas shopping at one of several craft fairs in town. The American Legion Craft Fair at the Legion hall featured two floors of crafts, while the Franklin County Arts & Crafts Association Annual Craft Fair packed the University of Maine at Farmington Student Center with local crafters.
Many colorful and creative gingerbread houses were on display in the annual Gingerbread House Contest at Bangor Savings Bank. Those attending could enjoy a piece of cake in honor of Chester Greenwood.
People who purchased a $5 passport could take part in the “Taste of Farmington”. They could be seen visiting participating establishments for samples of food.
The Titcomb House held an open house, and was decorated for the occasion by the Mt. Blue Garden Club. Christmas wreath sales took place all day, author Guy Rioux signed a book he wrote on the Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad, and the Merry Plinksters entertained with music.
The Octagon House had wreaths for sale, music by Leanne Tinker, light refreshments, Gould family displays, and holiday storytelling and readings. The Pierce House offered a display of memorabilia pertaining to the Greenwood family, old-fashioned refreshments and cookie-decorating.
For those brave enough, the 31st Annual Polar Bear Dip at the breakwater on Clearwater Pond was an opportunity for a refreshing if somewhat chilly venture. Spectators laughed and applauded as the polar dippers took the plunge.
Throughout the day, the Farmington Rotary Club’s Festival of Trees took place at the Farmington Community Center. People had the chance to place bids on the trees decorated by the Rotary youth groups. The trees were auctioned off in the evening.
In the afternoon, horse-drawn wagon rides were offered courtesy of Narrow Gauge Cinemas. As night fell, an “Itty Bitty” tree lighting took place at Franklin Savings Bank, with hot chocolate, popcorn and live music by Mark Gentle, a country music singer and songwriter from Farmington.
The Franklin County Chamber of Commerce sponsored the Chester Greenwood Day festivities.
Chester Greenwood Day parade award-winners:
* Adult, 1st place, University Credit Union; 2nd place, RSU 9; 3rd place, Barclay’s;
* Youth, 1st place, Girl Scout Troop 486; 2nd place, Franklin County Children’s Task Force; 3rd place, Mallett School.