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Lumberjack Festival is coming
Jim Rinaldo, an Envision Rumford member, with Babe, the Blue Ox at the head of Congress Street.
Men of the River Valley are being asked to grow their beards for a Paul Bunyan look-a-like contest on May 4.
RUMFORD -- Gentlemen, it's time to grow those beards!
A Paul Bunyan look-a-like contest is one of the many activities planned as the high-energy Envision Rumford group has come up with another event for the downtown.
On Saturday, May 4, the first annual Paul Bunyan's Lumberjack Festival will be celebrated. A lumberjack breakfast, a parade of skidders and pulp trucks and perhaps, even a zip line, will highlight a busy rain or shine event.
Committee member Jim Rinaldo said people will get a real flavor of the woods, with oxen to pull logs, work horses and a variety of skidder and pulp trucks on site. There will be horse and buggy rides, an ax and log throw contest, a log relay, even a frying pan throw for the ladies.
There will be an arm wrestling contest and a coloring contest for the youngsters, perhaps involving the use of colored chalk on the sidewalk. A request will be made to try to get the National Guard's climbing wall and perhaps store windows along Congress Steet will be decorated to the lumberjack theme for the event.
Rinaldo said the group is looking for gift certificates for prizes, as well as sponsors for events. One of those involves helping with the expense of the day's insurance so they can hold a one-day zip line demonstration. Envision Rumford held a demo zip line at Hosmer Field during last year's Fourth of July event, which was widely used by the public.
If this zip line happens, it will be a 600-foot run beginning by the Rite-Aid. Zipliners will then experience moving over the Androscoggin River before the ride ends at the town's snow dump.
Rinaldo said they are looking into getting a rader gun to check the speed of people on the zip line, with the idea that the faster rider will get a prize.
The day will get underway with a lumberjack breakfast from 8 to 9:30 a.m. at the American Legion at the head of Congress Street.
The parade, with the skidders, pulp trucks, etc., will start at 10 a.m., beginning at the old Puiia's site, moving up Rumford Avenue, across Memorial Bridge and over to Exchange Street, ending up behind the Elks. People will then be able to see this equipment close-up.
Rinaldo is also contacting local clubs that might be willing to host what could be termed an old-fashioned barn dance or perhaps a Jeans & Flannel Lumberjack Dance at the end of the day.
The core group of volunteers, which include Tammi Lyons, Jennifer Kreckel, Jim and Carrie Rinaldo, Cheri Smith, Kevin Kaulback and Leah McKay, put together the first annual Rumford Pumpkin Fest on the Island on Oct. 20, an event that attracted between 300 and 400 people.
The mission of Envision Rumford is to explore and implement ideas for increasing business on the Island and strengthening it as a place to do business and be in business.
They can always use more volunteers. They meet at 4:30 p.m. weekly on Thursdays in the office of Kaynor & Kreckel on Congress Street.