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It's spring, which means it is time for Garland Grange's Annual Public Supper Season. For well over a decade, Garland Grange has been providing monthly public suppers as a major fundraising effort.
The public meals have grown the organization's treasury to allow for minor improvements to the building over the years.
"We really appreciate the community's support of Garland Grange," says Garland Grange Master and Chef Bill Bemis. " We have developed quite a following for our suppers."
Over the past few years loyal supper patrons have come to expect Bill's famous baked beans and macaroni and cheese as well as the homemade bread and desserts. However, as the treasury was building, some community members asked about what the money was being used for.
"I am the first one they see when they come into supper," says Secretary Andrea Rollins, "so I am often asked what their money is being used towards."
Rollins is happy to be able to have a great answer for them this year. The fall of 2014 saw Garland Grange undertaking two major capital projects on the historic hall.
First, was the drilling of a new well. For many years (no one is certain as to when), Garland Grange has been getting water from the next door Garland Community Baptist Church. When the water line froze under the parking lot between the two buildings in the spring of 2014 causing delay of the Grange's 2014 public supper season, the need for an independent water source was brought to the forefront. The fall of 2014 a new well was dug and pump installed.
Second, the major project was the installation of a new heating system. For a couple years now, the oil furnace at the hall was giving the organization more problems than heat. The need for a newer, more energy efficient system was obvious. So in January of 2015, an oil furnace and new duct work was installed. The furnace was of no cost to the Grange, thanks to Treasurer and local business owner Ernest Rollins. Rollins spoke with a neighbor who works for Bangor Natural Gas. Due to the movement in Bangor to switch to natural gas, there was an oil furnace available free for the taking. It only took 3 Grange members and a family member a Sunday afternoon to disassemble and remove the furnace from the basement of an apartment house on Forest Avenue in Bangor. However, the cost came when hiring a licensed heating contractor to reassemble the "Humpty Dumpty" furnace. While he was there, he suggested some rearranging of the heating duct work at the hall to improve the efficiency of heating the large, old building.
The new heating system and well will allow the building better year-round use. "Right now, we shy any from much going on in the winter time at the building. Our hope to allow rent of the building for weddings and parties as well as other events such as game days," says Grange Master Bemis.
The first public supper will be held on Friday, April 10th from 5 to 7 pm. The menu will include baked beans, macaroni and cheese, homemade bread and desserts. As always, the meal is all you can eat for $7 for adults. $3 for children, and under age 5 are free.
Garland Grange appreciates the loyal patrons for their continued support, and invites the public to come check out the upgrades at the hall.
Another exciting addition to the public supper schedule is the conjunction of a Family Contra Dance following each supper. This tradition was started last year and the great collaboration has continued. The first contra dance will be held on the same night of the supper starting at 7 pm. This is a great family friendly event with live music. All dances are taught, so anyone can do it. Admission to the dance is $7 per person and $12 per family. The caller is John McIntire and the music is provided by Some Reel People.
In addition, as Community Service Committee chair, Andrea Rollins wants to recognize all the supper patrons for using the suppers as opportunities to bring in all the items collected by the Grange. These include Campbell Soup labels, Box Tops for Education, soda can tabs, pennies for House in the Woods, used postage stamps, and coupons for the troops. Rollins encourages everyone to keep bringing these items in.
Garland Grange meets every first and third Friday of the month at 7:30 pm at the hall which is located on Oliver Hill Road in Garland. For more information about Garland Grange call Bill Bemis at 924-4123 or check Garland Grange #76 on Facebook.