If you give a free barbecue, they will come, and many did, gathering Saturday afternoon on the lawn of the Woolwich town office to eat, talk and enjoy live music provided by the Montsweagers.
“We’ve had a steady number of people coming all afternoon,” David King Sr., select board chairman, told Wiscasset Newspaper. “It’s not too hot today, neighbors are getting reacquainted. I think it’s really been just what we had hoped for, a nice small town gathering.” The free offerings included grilled hamburgers, hot dogs, potato chips, soft drinks and bottled water. Dessert was provided, too, a delicious serving of homemade chocolate or vanilla ice cream made by Gaius and Amy Hennin.
Manning the grill were Selectmen Jason Shaw and Allen Greene. “Because of the uncertainty of the pandemic, we made the decision a few months ago not to hold Woolwich Day and instead offer a community picnic,” Shaw explained as he flipped a sizzling burger. “We’ve got a pretty good turnout, people are having fun and I’m happy we were able to do this.” Greene was in full agreement and also pleased with the turnout.
Among the guests were Lynette Eastman of Pittston, Woolwich’s former town administrator. She and her husband George were camping in Boothbay and drove up to attend the gathering. It turned into a homecoming for Eastman, who spent 21 years working in the town office. “It’s wonderful to be back here again, seeing many of my old friends and hearing what’s been happening in town,” she said.
Two other familiar faces were Lloyd and Collette Coombs; they were manning the condiments tent. Lloyd was the town’s first town manager and served many years on the select board before retiring a few years ago. Collette is a longtime member of the town’s Special Events Committee, the group charged with hosting the community barbecue. Other committee members on hand volunteering as servers were Tammy Given, Janice Greene, Jan Stephens, Charlotte Kaplan and Selectman Allison Hepler.
“This year's smaller and simpler community cookout was just what we needed,” commented Hepler afterwards. “It was great to catch up with old friends, meet some new people, listen to music, and just enjoy being together outside on a great summer day. I loved it.” Along with serving on the select board, Hepler is State Rep. 53 representing Arrowsic, Dresden, Georgetown, Phippsburg, Woolwich and part of Richmond.
Besides enjoying live acoustic music, guests could tour Woolwich Historical Society’s 19th century farmhouse next door to the town office. WHS President Debbie Locke who was helping lead the tours said the museum reopened the first of July. It will remain open every Sunday from noon to 4, or by appointment by calling 751-4351.
Locke noted the historical society’s genealogical room had been reorganized by JC Donahue and is now much easier to use. She said there’s also colorful stenciling to see in the kitchen. The stenciling was recently discovered when the wallpaper was removed. Other items to see include a collection of Native American artifacts, a spinning wheel, old photographs, quilts, vintage clothing, a 19th century bedroom, old kitchen utensils and Civil War memorabilia.