Twenty-six years of SnowFest and fishing derby

The annual fishing derby and SnowFest went off without a hitch last Saturday. People of all ages showed up to ice fish, drive snowmobiles and all-terrain vehicles on Washington Pond’s solid ice, compete for biggest fish, guess ice-out, and enjoy the camaraderie. The SnowFest, sponsored by the Hill & Gully Riders Snowmobile Club in Washington, has been an annual outdoor family activity for 26 years. For safety’s sake, ice measurements were taken and revealed that the thickness varied from 2-and-a-half to 3-and-a-half feet thick including 18-inches of good clear ice at the base.

The Snack Shack was busy and the wood fire provided a perfect place to warm hands and bottoms. Ron Taylor grills up the tastiest burgers on earth (I kid you not) and those alone are worth a trip to the SnowFest. Susie Taylor, Debbie Johnston and BJ Kopishke ably complete the cook-crew. Chris Taylor, Ron Moore, Jud Butterman, Rick Kopishke, Tom Johnston kept the fire going and stayed on top of details. Food and warmth — my personal favorites — were more than adequate! This year, ticket and raffle sales were from a small closed in trailer which was also heated — certainly a plus for the volunteers who handled those functions all day.

Raffle drawings and the big fish awards began at 3 p.m. The biggest fish overall was a large-mouth bass caught by Ron Moore. Cash prizes were awarded to Moore along with anglers who caught the largest fish in each species. Hill & Gully Snowmobile Club members wish to thank the numerous donors who generously provided prizes: Union Agway, Grinnell’s Sales & Service, Linscott’s, Four Corner’s Market, Hammond Tractor, Medomak River Trading Post, MicMac Market, Goodnow’s Market, CARS Auto Repair, Washington Auto Parts, Common Market, Come Spring Café, Union True Value, Union Farm Equipment and Crowning Touch Embroidery. Thanks, too, to the volunteers who made it work and most of all to the great folks who came out to enjoy the event.

Ice-out contest piques interest, serves purpose

What’s your guess for the date ice-out will happen on Washington Pond? Lots of folks made their best guess as to when there will be ice-free passage from one end of the lake to the other last week at the SnowFest. For most people, choosing their date involved a sort of dialog with themselves about past ice-out dates and the strange weather of recent years and so forth. After a few moments, though, they marked their choice on the entry slip and dropped it in the bowl. The actual 2013 ice-out will be determined by two volunteer observers who reside on the pond and the individual with the most accurate guess will be notified and presented with a $50 prize from Washington Lakes Watershed Association. If you want to take a guess, contact Charlotte at 845-2661 or email Be aware — no guesses will be accepted after this Saturday, March 2. If there are duplicate guesses, one will be drawn from among them.

The lakes association, sponsor of the ice out contest, is a member of the Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program and is supporting that organization in its efforts to determine and record ice-out — and ice-in — dates in all Maine lakes and ponds. WLWA will also report their finding to the Maine Conservation Department. The Maine Volunteer Lake Monitoring Program is beginning an additional effort to track ice-in dates in recognition that the length of time a lake is “closed” effects its inhabitant fish and plants. FMI on this project, contact Washington Lakes Watershed Association at or Charlotte at 845-2661. WLWA is very grateful to Hill & Gully Riders Snowmobile Club for welcoming us to piggy-back on their event in order to promote the ice out contest.

Prescott PTG asks “stuff” donations

Could you donate items — new or gently used — to help fill raffle baskets for the Prescott School Parent Teacher Group? The PTG is holding its annual Prescott Pizza Supper on Saturday, March 9 and an essential part of their fundraiser is raffling theme baskets. The themes include “Sweet Tooth,” “Outdoor Fun,” “Gardening,” “Arts & Crafts,” and “Curl Up and Read.” Students will receive a free raffle ticket for each donated item they bring in. If you want to help out, drop the items off at Prescott school or send them with a student. And be sure to mark your calendars and attend the Pizza Supper on March 9, from 4:30 to 6 p.m. Please be aware that outside doors are locked during school hours, but knock and someone will let you in.

If I told you once…

Researchers tell us that one has to hear the message many times before really getting it. So here goes again. The Washington Fire Department will properly install a free smoke detector in any Washington residence. So, if you don’t have a smoke detector — or if you have one and want another — contact Fire Chief Tom Johnston at 845-2576 to get that life-saving device.