18th century games attract young and old at Dresden Summerfest

DRESDEN – Young and old came together to play games young and old on Sunday at the courthouse in Pownalborough for the Dresden Summerfest.

The annual gathering, canceled last summer due to the coronavirus pandemic, drew several dozen attendees on Sunday. Many visitors participated in 18th century games taught by living history re-enactors.

The games included both current and 18th century versions of tug of war. A team of firefighters from Dresden easily overtook a group of re-enactors and other participants in the best-known modern version of tug-of-war, shooting their enemies, both sides grabbing onto a section of rope, over- above the midline.

reb Manthey, of Benton, with the Colonial Maine Living History Association, fared better in what she said was the more historic version of tug of war, which pits two individuals against each other, each standing on their own pieces of wood vertical and pulling on opposite ends of one piece of rope while trying to remove the other or gain control of the rope. She and a volunteer firefighter each took a turn in their two-round battle over cut sections of logs.

It’s not as simple as it sounds, as Manthey noted the long rope section, and the need to balance on the log, make it more than the modern version’s brute force test.

“Life (in the 18th century) required a lot of trickery and planning and things like that, so most 18th century games have elements beyond brute force,” said Manthey, who competed barefoot. and in appropriate clothing for the period. .

Eight-year-old Luna Pease, from Richmond, and her adult partner, Sonia Lilly, from Dresden, won the egg-throwing competition, in which participants team up to throw an egg at each other, increasing distances longer, with teams getting knocked out when their egg is broken.

The game was played on grass, which emcee Peter Walsh, from Dresden, noted provided a nice cushion that prevented many eggs from breaking even when not successfully caught by the attendees.

Luna said she didn’t know what their secret was to winning the lightweight competition, and Lilly joked that “not catching it much” helped, as the eggs often didn’t burst when they landed on the grass, anyway.

Lilly said the annual event provides a good opportunity for the community to come together, see old friends and meet new people.

One game, run by firefighters from Dresden, had children using a garden hose to spray a wooden cutout of a house, with folding pieces of wood in the windows representing the fire. Participants pointed water at the “fire” to knock them down as if putting out a real fire.

Eve Lavallee, 6, of Richmond, said “let the fire go out!” and grabbed hold of the pipe, immediately putting out most of the “fire” in the windows, except for one stubborn one who got stuck even as she got closer and closer. It finally fell as she kept the pipe pointed at it.

She said the best part of the day’s activities was hanging out with her friends there.

Eve’s brother Kingston, 11, visited Pownalborough Courthouse, which was open on Sunday, where he said he liked the displays of tools, including equipment used to cut and move the ice cream.

All eyes are on Emily Dalton on Sunday as she catches an egg during the draw at the Dresden Summer Fest in Dresden. Dalton and her best friend, Courtany Hanley, finished third in the contest. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

Other activities at Dresden Summerfest included live music, re-enactment demonstrations, goats in a petting zoo, caricature drawing, balloon animals, a used book sale and free snow cones for children as well as sales of baked goods, hot dogs and hamburgers grilled by firefighters. .

The event was organized by the Lincoln County Historical Association, a nonprofit group that oversees three historic properties in the county, including the site of Sunday’s events, the historic 1761 Pownalborough Court House, the only courthouse of Maine built during the colonial period.

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