Washburn August Festival to host Vietnam veterans tribute wall, family activities

4 years ago

WASHBURN, Maine — The Washburn Rotary Club will present many community-oriented activities during the annual Washburn August Festival to be held Aug. 14-18, including the unveiling of the American Veterans Traveling Tribute Wall.

Most of the traditional festival events will occur on Friday, Aug. 16, and Saturday, Aug. 17. The festivities will kick off Friday evening with a performance from Heath Bartley at 6 p.m. at Story Hill Park, and a children’s parade on Main Street at 6:30 p.m. 

Members of the public can also attend an indoor dance 8-10:30 p.m. at Washburn District Elementary School, and a Movie in the Park at 8:30 p.m., featuring the Disney film “Moana.”

On August. 17, the festival parade will begin at 10 a.m., followed by children’s games on School Street noon-3 p.m. The Washburn Pentecostal Church will host carnival activities and the Washburn Fire Department will present a children’s firefighters’ muster. 

A craft fair will begin in the area around Story Hill Park and the Salmon Brook Historical Society at 8 a.m. on Saturday and vendors can remain for as long as they wish throughout the day. Interested vendors should contact Lisa Wark at (207) 227-1872. The annual baked bean supper will be held at 5 p.m. at the Washburn Snowmobile Club.

One of the most anticipated additions to the festival is the American Veterans Traveling Tribute Wall. Rotary member and Boy Scout Troop 177 Scoutmaster Larry Harrison has worked with the American Legion Oscar Dow Post 48 to bring the replica of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial to Washburn for the entirety of the festival.

On the afternoon of Aug. 14, a group of local veterans and volunteers will provide the wall with a motorcade escort to the soccer field of Washburn District Elementary School. The motorcade will begin at the University of Maine at Presque Isle and end at the soccer field. The wall is 360 feet long and 8 feet tall and is an 80 percent replica of the real memorial in Washington D.C.

The following day the American Legion will host an opening ceremony for the wall at 1 p.m. Subsequent ceremonies to honor local Vietnam veterans will be held at 6 p.m. on Aug. 16, at 1:30 p.m. on Aug. 17, and at 2 p.m. on Aug. 18. Members of the public can view the wall any time during the festival until 3 p.m. on Aug. 18.

Holly Umphrey, president of Washburn Rotary Club, said that there will also be presentations at the wall Thursday through Sunday that will focus on the history of the Vietnam War. The various ceremonies will honor the 38 veterans from Aroostook County as well as all Vietnam veterans. Local veterans will be welcome to march in the parade on Aug. 17.

“For those who are unable to travel to Washington D.C., the traveling wall is an amazing opportunity to see the names of thousands of veterans who lost their lives in the Vietnam War,” Umphrey said. “We invite all Vietnam Veterans to view the wall and march in the parade no matter where they’re from.”

Other festival events will include an alumni banquet at 6 p.m. Friday, Aug. 16, at Washburn District High School; a book sale Thursday and Friday, Aug. 15 and 16; and  tours of the Salmon Brook Historical Society Museum from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Aug. 15 and 16.

Umphrey noted that the Washburn August Festival has been a community tradition for more than 30 years, and that Washburn was the first town in Aroostook County to establish its own summer festival.

“We have people from all over the country who come back to Washburn during the festival because it’s the best time to visit with everybody,” Umphrey said. “While people are here seeing the wall, I hope they take time to enjoy the shows and other events.”

For information about the Washburn August Festival, contact Umphrey at (207) 231-0561 or visit the event Facebook page.