Readfield residents will be asked to weigh in on the frequency of the town’s Heritage Days celebration.
Revived in 1997 after a 30-year hiatus and aimed at showcasing the town’s history, Heritage Days is scheduled to be the subject of a local referendum June 10.
Voters will be asked whether the town should budget $5,000 each year to fund Readfield Heritage Days, with the celebration to run every other year beginning in 2015.
A public hearing on that referendum question is set for 6 p.m. May 19.
According to the proposal, taxpayers would continue to vote on the appropriation each year.
The cost of having the celebration has run from $9,000 to $10,000 annually.
“Typically, organizers have been able to raise half that cost from donations and fees,” Town Manager Stefan Pakulski said. “Last year they did not, so it started to run at a deficit.” He said originally it was set up as a self-supporting event, but evolved to a 50-50 deal, with the town providing half the support in an informal arrangement.
Karen Dube, who heads the celebration committee, said Tuesday it was it was her idea to cancel the Heritage Days celebration this year.
“Me and my committee have had a hard time fundraising,” she said. “We just don’t have the manpower or the time. So we asked the town to forgo it this year and raise the money for 2015. I’m hoping to do it every other year, so we can concentrate more on the celebration and not worry so much about the fundraising.”
She noted that the committee relied on a local bank branch to support the appearance of entertainer Rick Charette, but that branch has since closed.
Also, the celebration, traditionally held on the second weekend in August, has been victimized by bad weather for the past two years.
“We couldn’t recoup any funds,” Dube said. “Who wants to picnic on a beach when it’s pouring?”
The Readfield Heritage Days committee is composed almost entirely of the Readfield Fire Department and the fire department auxiliary.
Dube said the department will continue to hold its traditional bean hole bean supper that weekend, even without the Heritage Days celebration.
Others groups participating in the Heritage Days celebration included the Readfield Historical Society and the Readfield Union Meeting House.
Residents themselves had yard sales that weekend, making it a real community celebration.
There is also one local contest on the municipal ballot June 10. Thomas Dunham is challenging incumbent Lawrence Dunn for a three-year term in the lone seat available on the five-member Readfield Select Board.
Raymond Renner is seeking election to the board of Regional School Unit 38, the Maranacook school system. Two seats are open.
Those seats carry three-year terms.
A candidates’ night is set for 6:30 p.m. May 22 at the Town Office.
Following the June 10 election, which is held 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on the second floor of the Town Office, the business portion of the annual Town Meeting takes place at 6 p.m. June 12 in the Readfield Elementary School gymnasium.
Betty Adams — 621-5631 firstname.lastname@example.org