Children’s Games Attract a Crowd at Athletic Complex

Watermelon eating contest. (Photo by Lura Jackson)

By Lura Jackson

 

Wednesday’s scorching heat didn’t deter dozens of youth and their relatives from participating in the annual Children’s Games at the Thomas DiCenzo Athletic Complex, organized by the Calais Fire-EMS department. Held each year on the 4th of July since the 1800s, the games give an opportunity for local youngsters to have fun, collect some cash and possibly win one of four bicycles.

This year’s high temperatures did slow the activities down by necessity, but the Fire-EMS crew members ensured that the participants and their guardians were hydrated and kept as cool as possible considering the circumstances. The pavilion – a relatively recent addition to the complex built by a concerted effort of local students – was a popular place to seek shade.

Each year, the games traditionally include a number of races, including a bicycle race, potato sack race and a three-legged race. The egg toss is also a popular event each year. The first-place winner of each contest receives $3, while the second-place winner gets $2 and the third place gets $1. Sometimes the department incorporates new games, such as last year’s frisbee toss. The festivities conclude with several rounds of watermelon eating and soda drinking contests, broken up by age division and gender.

 

There are many sponsors that enable the Children’s Games to happen each year. This year’s list of sponsors includes FA Peabody, WQDY, Rick’s Can and Bottle, the patrons of Karen’s Diner, Calais Ace Hardware, Sunrise Eye Care, Machias Savings Bank, Roger’s Auto Sales, A & E Plumbing II, Flowers by Janie, Eastern Maine Appliance, Tammi J. Smith Accounting, Mays Funeral Home, International Motel, The First, EBS, O’Briens, A.N. Derringer, Cabin Fever Embroidery, Marden’s, the Calais Advertiser, Tradewinds Shop ‘N Save, Ben’s Fuzzy Butz, PCT Communications, Riverside Electric and the IGA. The four bicycles up for grabs this year were donated by Wal-Mart.