August 2003

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August 30, 2003

Folk Festival draws bigger crowds

A girl dances to the music of Wawali Bonane and Yoka Nzenze as the 2003 Folk Festival winds down at the Railroad Stage.
This year’s National Folk Festival was more successful than last year’s, according to the event’s organizers. Bangor held the three-day festival on the Penobscot River and Kenduskeag Stream waterfronts last weekend. It was the second year of the event’s three-year run in the Queen City. On Monday, organizers said about 110,000 people attended at least part of the festival. However, the number was more like 70,000 at most. Last year organizers said 80,000 attended, but the actual number was closer to 40,000. Festival organizers don’t take into account that a lot of festival-goers go more than once. Because the event is free and there is no main gate, there is no way to count people as they enter and roam the grounds.

Regardless of how many people attended, it was clear that more attended this year than last. The weather cooperated for the most part, although the temperature Saturday dropped from a high of 77 in mid-afternoon to below 50 by early evening. Increasing gusts of wind accompanied the drop, sending quite a few festival-goers to their vehicles to retrieve jackets or sweat shirts or even home.

This year’s festival featured twice as many food vendors than last year, including the addition of hot dogs, the distinctly missing entree of American cuisine from last year at an event that’s supposed to celebrate the blending of cultures in the United States.

Musicians represented just about every form of music, from Piedmont blues to Acadian to country to Spanish to reggae. Artisans set up shops in tents to sell everything from custom-made fiddles and guitars to “all natural” insect repellent.

On Friday and Saturday nights the Chinese Dragon and Lions Dancers led a parade from the north end of Front Street to the main stage off Main and Railroad streets. The group’s younger members paraded through the street with dragons and masks while the elder members beat a large drum rolled on wheels. The Bronx New Heaven Shout Band followed with blaring trombones, tubas, and other brass instruments.

The festival’s most surprising find, however, was the Piedmont blues duo of Warner Williams and Jay Summerour. The two, from the Washington, D.C., area, are not professional musicians, but they put on a nonstop show of what you could call “front porch blues.” Williams provided the vocals while on guitar and Summer our provided backup while on the harmonica or tambourine.

Next year’s edition will be the last for Bangor, as the festival moves on every three years. Local organizers plan to start a local or regional festival in the Queen City in 2005.

Hawaii captures Senior League World Series

Hawaii coaches and players celebrate winning their first World Series title.
Hilo, Hawaii, knocked off defending Senior League World Series champion Willemstad, Curacao, 3-2 in the semifinal round and defeated Virginia 16-8 in the championship game at Mansfield Stadium on Aug. 16 to win its first world title. Senior League is for Little Leaguers ages 14-16.

Virginia beat Hawaii in the first round of pool play, but Hawaii rebounded to win the rest of its games. Virginia also lost one game in pool play, to Canada, and bounced back to win the rest of its games.

Host Orono-Veazie was 1-3 in pool play, with its only win coming against Canada on opening day, a 4-3 comeback in the bottom of the seventh inning.

Curacao, which captured its first World Series title last year, was 4-0 in pool play, winning two games in extra innings. But the defending champs came up against tough pitching in the semifinal round. Hawaii pitcher Myles Inane threw a two-hitter and Curacao’s Shairon Martis countered with a three-hitter in the semifinal. In the other semifinal, Virginia beat Iowa 6-3.

In the championship game, Hawaii scored five runs in the top of the first inning. Virginia came back with three runs in the bottom of the inning and then took a 7-5 lead after scoring four more runs in the second. But Hawaii regained the lead in the third and held it the rest of the day in front of an estimated 2,000 fans.

For more comprehensive news on this year’s World Series, see’s World Series page.

Week of Aug. 17, 2003

Zoning board rejects attempt to block Lumberjacks move

Residents of an apartment complex that lies just beyond the left and center field fences at the John Winkin Baseball Complex worry that having the Lumberjacks play at the stadium will ruin their neighborhood with noise and light population and traffic snarls.
Bangor’s zoning board of appeals voted 3-1 Wednesday night to reject a Valley Avenue couple’s claim that a city ordinance prohibits the Bangor Lumberjacks baseball team from playing at Husson College’s John Winkin Baseball Complex.

Nathaniel and Leslie Rosenblatt claim that the city’s zoning ordinance does not allow the independent professional team to play at the college. Husson’s land is designated as a government and institutional service district. The college is off Husson Avenue, which connects Broadway and Kenduskeag Avenue. Valley Avenue connects to Kenduskeag not far from Husson Avenue.

Husson College rebuilt its baseball field at the end of last year’s baseball season in anticipation of attracting a professional team. John Winkin, the school’s assistant coach, donated his summer camp to the school so the school could auction it to raise money for the new field. The field now features artificial turf, new brick dugouts, a brick wall that runs from first base to third base, a screen behind home plate, a press box and fencing that encloses the field completely. The school and Lumberjacks now need to install lights, a 3,000-seat grandstand, concession stands and restrooms.

Bangor businessman Charles Hutchins bought the Lumberjacks early this year and moved the team from New York state with hopes of playing in Bangor. The team is playing this season at the University of Maine’s Mahaney Diamond, in Orono.

Residents near Husson have complained to the city that bringing the Lumberjacks to the field will create excessive noise, traffic and light pollution. The team plays a 46-game home schedule. Only Sunday games are played during the day.

An attorney for Husson argued that the stadium project is allowed under the current ordinance because the school’s baseball team uses the field, which also will be home to the school’s football team. The school also rents the field to John Bapst Memorial High School for its varsity and junior varsity baseball teams.

Husson must still get environmental permits from the state’s Department of Environmental Protection.

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