Washburn marks August Festival

9 months ago

Washburn welcomed a town full of visitors over the weekend for the 42nd annual August Festival.

Starting Friday night with the Washburn High School alumni banquet, events were organized by the Washburn Rotary Club and included live music, crafts, a quilt show, children’s activities, a car show and the traditional Saturday morning parade.

Members of the Wee Dram Pipes & Drums of Central Maine prepare to play at the Washburn August Festival on Aug. 19, 2023. In front is Pipe Sergeant Ernie Smith. From left are bass drummer Mike Grant, tenor drummer Jerry LaPointe, snare drummer Ken Welton and piper Alan Baker. (Paula Brewer | The Star-Herald)

In a memorable ceremony Saturday afternoon, the town unveiled a monument honoring Perham native Edward Dahlgren, a decorated World War II veteran who was one of Maine’s five Medal of Honor recipients.

“People can come to this beautiful place and remember him,” said Dahlgren’s son, Michael Dahlgren. “He was a humble hero.”

The etched granite monument is the latest addition to the Washburn Area Veterans Memorial Park. The park started when a trio of Eagle Scouts adopted it as their service project. Last year another Eagle Scout added flagpoles representing the five military branches, said Larry Harrison, master of ceremonies, veteran and longtime Scoutmaster.

Sterling Wilcox, 96, a World War II veteran, smiles as he holds the Boston Post Cane he received Aug. 19 as Wade’s oldest resident. (Paula Brewer | The Star-Herald)

Michael’s brother, Ray Dahlgren, was also present. Their sister, Susan Dahlgren Daigneault, could not attend. She wrote the book “In the Shadow of a Mountain” about Edward Dahlgren’s struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder.

As members of the Wee Dram Pipes & Drums of Central Maine played, Boy Scouts raised the five military flags. Harrison briefly described some of the elder Dahlgren’s achievements, and Eagle Scout Paul Tardie read from his Medal of Honor citation. 

The Dahlgren brothers and Bud Umphrey, a local World War II veteran, participated in a ribbon cutting as the stone was unveiled. Umphrey wore his military uniform.

Washburn Eagle Scout Paul Tardie III reads from Edward Dahlgren’s Medal of Honor citation on Aug. 19 in Washburn. Behind him is the monument to Dahlgren that was unveiled at the ceremony. (Paula Brewer | The Star-Herald)

In 2022, the Washburn Rotary Club introduced a walkway featuring 151 bricks engraved with local veterans’ names and service branches. This year, 108 more bricks have been added, Harrison said.

“We just want to make sure we honor all our veterans for all they gave for the freedom of our country,” he said.

Veterans Greg Page and Kathy Philbrook read the 108 names as the new bricks were dedicated.

From left, World War II veteran Bud Umphrey, Ray Dahlgren and Michael Dahlgren pose as the Edgar Dahlgren monument is unveiled Aug. 19 at the Washburn Area Veterans Memorial Park. (Paula Brewer | The Star-Herald)

Washburn Town Manager Donna Turner honored another World War II veteran with the Boston Post Cane. 

Only 700 Post canes exist, Turner said, and she applied and was able to receive one. She presented the cane to Sterling Wilcox of Wade, 96, who is that town’s eldest resident. 

People gather on the porch of the Salmon Brook Historical Society’s Wilder Homestead Museum during the Washburn August Festival. (Paula Brewer | The Star-Herald)

Wilcox also received a legislative sentiment signed by members of the state Legislature.

The festival also honored Dwayne and Lynn Dow as king and queen of the festivities, and featured former Washburn Beaver athlete Meredith (Hews) Messer as the parade’s grand marshal.

A veteran salutes as the military branch flags are raised during the Washburn August Festival on Aug. 19. Jerry LaPointe of the Wee Dram Pipes & Drums of Central Maine plays the tenor drum in the background. (Paula Brewer | The Star-Herald)