Annual East Middlebury picnic celebrates the Suttons and community

EAST MIDDLEBURY — After the wind calmed on Saturday, June 6, 12 men gathered in East Middlebury to set up for the annual community picnic. Ranging in age from 10 to 60, they made short work of erecting a large tent loaned by Eric Murray. Then the tables, chairs and a food tent were added to scene.
On Sunday, June 7, Bill and Pat Chaffee arrived early and assisted with the final setup details. At 11:30, cooks Pat Chaffee, Jason Larocque and Bob Wells started grilling hot dogs and hamburgers. Kathleen Ramsay, Middlebury town manager, arrived with multiple vases of flowers to be set on the tables and taken home by the guests. A crowd had arrived by noon.
The food table, managed by Dawn Saunders, was laden with homemade dishes. Todd Desabrais had been involved in an activity at the American Legion on Saturday. He suggested that their leftover food could come to us. We had a feast. Since our group didn’t eat all the food, it was passed along to the Community Lunch Program, courtesy of Lorrie Muller. In addition, the Waybury Inn, Middlebury Beef Supply and the Downhome Deli donated food.
This year several families with young children attended and it was a pleasure to have their added energy as they ran back and forth from the Harold Curtiss Recreation Park to the picnic area behind the Sarah Partridge Community House. Approximately 79 residents, representing 35 households, and seven guests attended. Susan Shashok helped those attending log in, get nametags and sign up for door prizes. The event is supported with monetary donations from local businesses. This year they included: ABC Storage, Dennis Newton Electric, Tom Bodette Landscaping, Murphy’s Metals, Goodro Lumber, Canopy Timber Alternatives, R&R Trucking and Addison County Commission Sales.
It is the custom to honor a local entity for contributions to the community. The Waybury Inn was selected for 2015. The inn is probably best known for hosting the annual Firemen’s Ham Dinner. However, they contribute their space generously on a regular basis. The 207-year-old inn is the public face of East Middlebury. Owners Tracey and Joe Sutton were on hand to accept the accolades and plaque.
A resident and former inn owner, Bob Kingsley, died recently. He left four items to the East Middlebury Historical Society. The one of most interest to the public was a collage of old postcards featuring the front of the inn over the years. This collage was on display at the picnic and will be loaned to the Waybury Inn to be hung in a public room.
The program ended with residents enjoying a dessert consisting of a beautiful cake baked and decorated by Craig Bingham. Ice cream, donated by Middlebury Sweets, was added. Then it was time for the door prize drawing. This activity added a lot of laughs. One prudential committee member had his name entered twice — by his wife and himself. When his name was drawn, he turned down the prize. Later his name was drawn again and this time he accepted what he had won. Prize donations were made by: Jack Brown, Katherine Windham, Susan Shashok, Julia Emilo, and Toby and Renita Welch.
The day ended with the residents restoring the picnic site to the original grassy area. Within an hour all traces of the event had been stored away and the 2015 picnic is now a fond memory. Kathleen has posted picnic photos on the town of Middlebury home webpage.
Editor’s note: This article was contributed by Peggy Peabody.

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