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Maine Granges continue to wane

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    Promoter Grace Lommel at the Wayside Grange and Theatre in Dexter. Most Maine Granges are at least 100 years old, and many need new roofs, bathrooms or other fixes.

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    More than 40 people – all over the age of 50 – attend a meatloaf supper Oct. 10 at the Wayside Grange in Dexter.

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    Joe Kennedy, 63, of Ripley jokes that he’s “one of the kids” at the Wayside Grange. The group has fewer than 20 active members ranging in age from 30 to mid-80s; the vast majority of members are older than 50.

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    Wayside Grange in Dexter. In 1873, the first year of Grange in Maine, 64 were built.

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    Seven dollars buys you a heaping plate of meatloaf, scalloped potatoes, squash, homemade bread, non-alcoholic drinks and dessert at the public supper at the Wayside Grange in Dexter. The admission price even includes a second trip to the buffet.

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    Wayside Grange head cook Barb Bekier returns to the dining room after taking the trash outside.

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    Guitarist Dana Collins of Athens plays unaccompanied country blues during a public supper at the Wayside Grange.

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    Wayside Grange was originally the North Dexter Grange, which closed in the 1990s because of lack of membership. A decade later, a theater troupe expressed interest in the building. The troupe was told it could have it for free if it started a new Grange at the site. A letterboard of events shows a mix of entertainment and Grange suppers.

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    The late-day sun illuminates peeling paint on the Garland Grange.

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