Portage Lake to celebrate annual ‘Ring of Fire’

10 years ago


by Susan Feeney-Hopkins

    Portage Lake will be holding its eighth annual Ring of Fire on the lake, Saturday, Aug. 30.

All residents living or camping on the lake are encouraged to light a roaring campfire lakeside to celebrate the final weekend of the summer with family and friends. Campfires should be lit around 7 p.m. It is a spectacular sight to look out on to the lake and see all the fires burning. If you have any questions, call Ralph Miller at 435-2098.

Summer Round Up highlights

    This year’s Portage Lake Summer Round Up celebration was a huge success bringing town residents and visitors out and about all weekend long. Though the weather wasn’t cooperative, it seemed most of the events took place between raindrops!
All of the events drew larger than average crowds, with the Whoopie Pie Festival starting Saturday’s fun. As usual, there were lots of sweet treats sampled. Congratulations to first-time entrant Taunja Jandreau for taking the first place “Best Whoopie Pie” award. As always, Jessica Nason-Eastman did a fantastic job keeping the kids entertained with the Kids’ Carnival. There was coloring, an obstacle course and various carnival-style games. Thank you Jessica for all you do!
The Portage Lakers Snowmobile Club outdid themselves this year hosting fun-filled events. The turnout of spectators and participants was one of the best years yet! The club raised a total of $7,000 from the dunk booth, the silent auction, the Club 250 drawing, business donations and the Pig Roast — the proceeds from which will be used toward the purchase of a new Mogul Master Drag, to better groom the snowmobile trails we all use and enjoy. The members of our local club volunteer their time and work diligently to make our trail system one of the best in the country which is why the Portage Lakers Snowmobile Club is Club of the Year! The club wishes to thank all their volunteers, participants, spectators and local businesses that joined in the fun and support the club year after year. They also wish to thank the Portage Lake Tourism Committee and the Dubois Family Reunion for organizing such a great weekend.
Another great crowd attended the Canoe Carry. This is an event that everyone enjoys. It’s an entertaining look back in time of the town’s early settlers. This year’s fireworks display was the best yet! The explosion of colors and sounds of cheering could be heard all through the town. It was a celebration indeed. From there, a dance at Dean’s Motor Lodge kept everyone on their feet dancing all night long. Though it rained during the parade, it didn’t rain on the parade. Folks lined Main Street with umbrellas and rain jackets to enjoy this happy event. The French Food Tasting once again drew a huge crowd with many commenting on how good the food was. Everything from blood sausage to classic ployes was served. Entertaining the Food Fest crowd was the Fort Kent-based bluegrass band The Fiddle Heads. It’s always so great to see everyone together, enjoying a nice afternoon.
The highlight of the Acadian World Congress celebrations was the Dubois Family Reunion. Though it was a rainy day, it did not deter attendance or the joy in celebrating. Many people expressed their appreciation to the reunion organizers for hosting the event, saying they hadn’t been “back home” in years and enjoyed seeing the cousins they had not seen since they were children.
Approximately 230 family members attended the reunion. The most elder relative in attendance was Emelda Dubois, 93, of Fort Kent; the youngest relative was two-week-old Ella Pearle Gagnon, the daughter of Cole and Erin (Soucy) Gagnon from Windham and the granddaughter of Darrell and Sandra Soucy of Portage Lake. Relative Mark Ouellette traveled all the way from Palmer, Alaska for the reunion giving him the distinction of furthest traveled relative. Guests were treated to a drumming circle by the Wesget Sipu Tribe, who are descendants of the Dubois family. The drumming ceremony was in honor of their departed family members and ancestors.
A lot of outdoor activities had been planned but were affected by the rainy weather conditions. A great meal of roast pig, chicken stew, ployes and salads was served. Souvenirs were available including hand-made ornaments commemorating the Dubois Family Reunion, as well as Dubois genealogy books, which many found interesting. The book goes back to Francois Dubois who came to the New World from France and settled in the Quebec region. The Dubois from this area are his descendants.
Thanks to all who spent the last several years planning these events to celebrate along with the Acadian World Congress. Your efforts are appreciated by all.

Ongoing events

    The Portage Lake ATV Club will meet every first Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m. in the Town Office. All are welcome to attend. Contact Rena Belanger for membership or more information at 435-2780.
The Ashland Area Senior Citizens meet the first and third Thursday at noon for a potluck luncheon at the LeBlanc Junkins VFW Post 9699 on the Portage Road with a meeting to follow. This active and growing club of senior citizens also takes trips to various restaurants throughout The County, hosts cookouts, enjoys guest speakers and entertainment such as musicians. For more information, contact Roberta Savary at 435-6422.
The Portage Lake Over 50’s Club lunch is held on the last Tuesday of every month at 11:30 a.m. at the Town Hall. All individuals 50 and over are invited to attend and can bring a potluck dish to share. For more information, contact Jean Clark at 435-8034 or Donna Martin at 435-7108.
The Red Hat Loonies of Portage Lake meet every third Thursday of every month at Dean’s Motor Lodge. Membership dues are $2. Come and have a great meal and a great time, too!
Susan Feeney-Hopkins is the correspondent for Ashland, Portage Lake, Oxbow, Masardis, Garfield, Nashville Plantation and the surrounding areas. She can be reached at 227-7760 or Feenhop@aol.com.