WATERVILLE — Easter enthusiasts gathered at the Waterville Public Library on Saturday to get creative about making celebratory bonnets.

The sixth annual Waterville Easter Bonnet Contest, held for the first time at the library, drew adults and children for an afternoon of making spring-themed hats, followed by a contest, prizes and a parade through downtown Waterville.

“It’s been a really good turnout compared to what it used to be, and there are definitely more kids than there used to be,” said Serena Sanborn, the event’s founder and organizer. On Saturday she wore a green hat with tufts of grass centered around a mother turtle and her babies, tied with a yellow ribbon.

Others at the event made use of the glitter, plastic flowers and Easter candy that abounded to create or add to their hats. Advance preparation of the hats is allowed, and some said they had spent weeks gathering and assembling materials.

Doug Roncarti, 47, of Westbrook, said this was his fifth year of participating in the contest. His hat, titled a “Punderful Spring,” was a menagerie of spring riddles including daffo-DILLS with plastic dill pickle stems and CROAK-uses (frog flowers). There were also TWO-lips, flowers that had a stem supporting a pair of lips.

“It took me about a day to put it all together, but I was collecting pieces and parts for weeks,” he said.

“It’s perfectly in line with our mission, which is to celebrate creativity within the community,” said Tammy Rabideau, 42, a librarian for the Waterville Public Library.

On Saturday, Rabideau was wearing a bright pink sun hat piled full of fruit. She said Sanborn had approached the library about hosting the event there because it needed more space. In the past, it had been held at Railroad Square Cinemas until last year, when it was at Barrel’s Market.

“It seems like it has really engaged people of all ages, especially the children here,” Rabideau said.

Everyone who enters the contest wins a prize, said Brian Phipps, 35, who was one of three judges listening to people describe their hats.

“It’s mostly about having fun and having an opportunity to have your hat seen,” he said.

The judges’ role is to come up with a category for each hat to be the best in and then award the prizes. Examples include “Best Spring Hat,” “Most Colorful” and “Best Constructed,” Phipps said.

When the contest is over, everyone takes his or her hat home.

William Jackson, 9, of Waterville, made a hat called “The Lucky Bird Hat,” which was made of natural materials he had collected, including birch bark and moss, mixed with a fake bird’s nest and plastic birds.

“It’s just for fun. I’ll put it on display in the window for a while,” he said.

Rachel Ohm — 612-2368
[email protected]

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