by Eric Austin
Over its 14-year history, China Community Days has grown from a small, local festival to something that pulls in residents and tourists from all over Central Maine. This year looks to up the ante with dozens of activities, vendors, and a new community-driven event dubbed “The Bazaar” – where any resident can bring their own table and display items for sale.
The festivities kick off on Friday, August 4, with a chicken barbecue at the South China American Legion at 4:30 p.m. Then bring your inner artist over to the China Primary school bus circle where there will be a parking lot art contest at 5:30 p.m. At 6 p.m., take your kids to the Youth Wiffle Ball Game up between the elementary and middle schools at the China Recreation Ball Fields.
Saturday, activities ramp up bright and early at 10 a.m. Start your day off with a little exercise at 10:30 a.m. at the China School Forest table, where Elaine Philbrook, on behalf of the Town Forest at China Schools, will be giving walking tours.
Forget to feed the kids? They’ve got you covered! There’ll be a pie eating contest for ages 14 and under at 11:30 a.m., up at the China Recreation ballfields. The 15 to 18-year olds will get a chance at pie-eating at 1 p.m., while 18 and over adults will go last at 2 p.m. If you plan to participate, you should sign up at the China Community Days booth. Registration is $3 and there is space for up to 10 participants in each of the age groups. While you’re there, buy a raffle ticket to win a hand-carved bear by local artist Ron Carlson!
For those not planning to fill up on pie, food will be available from multiple vendors, including the China Four Seasons Club, MAJEK’s Seafood and Full Fork Farm. While you’re waiting for your food, you might want to browse the booths of nearly 20 community organizations and vendors who will be in attendance.
Kids should find no end of entertainment with nearly a dozen different activities, including an Obstacle Course, Joust competition, Dunk Tank and Bounce House. Make sure they have a little spending money for cotton candy and snow cones ($1 each)! A number of organizations, including our local Rescue & Volunteer Fire departments, will have vehicles there for children to explore. Has your child ever held a fire hose with water shooting out of it at 80 miles an hour? This is their chance!
Saturday evening, activities shift to the Causeway at the north end of China Lake, with a street dance in the China Baptist Parking Lot starting at 6 p.m. The band The Resistance will be playing live, so come and boogie-woogie with other residents! That will certainly work up your appetite, so grab a burger at the China Baptist Hamburger booth.
Then at 9 p.m., is the show everybody’s waiting for – FIREWORKS! The team is planning a stellar display to make up for the stumbles encountered last year. Be sure to arrive early to ensure a good spot, or come by boat and enjoy the best seat in the house!
Sunday sees two of our favorite activities return from years past. From 9 a.m. – 11 a.m., is the Youth Fishing Derby for ages 15 and under. Fishing will occur along the Causeway at the north end of the lake.
Then at noon, there will be a competitive Scavenger Hunt. Teams can be made up of children and adults, and should meet in the parking lot of the China Baptist Church at noon sharp. You’ll be given a list of 100 items and a deadline of two hours. Winners will be the team that finds the most items and returns by 2 p.m.
The Economic and Community Development Committee of China has really outdone itself this year, and they hope everyone will come and enjoy the celebrations! Be sure to check out the full Program of Events here. For questions, to volunteer (they still need lots of help!), or to inquire about a vendor booth (it’s not too late!), contact Kelly at the China Town Office at 445-2014 or email@example.com.
Residents should take note that the Causeway at the north end of China Lake will be closed to vehicles Saturday, August 5, from 4 – 11 p.m., for the street dance, and on Sunday, August 6, from 8:30 – 11:30 a.m., for the Youth Fishing Derby.