2019 District Conference:
“ROTARYFEST” A GREAT SUCCESS
 
Judging by the laughter and smiling faces, a good time was had by all at RotaryFest!  We held our district conference on June 22, 2019, at spectacular Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth, Maine  Several hundred Rotarians, family members and friends enjoyed the perfect weather and many activities and presentations.
 
We were treated to some excellent Rotary programing, including discussion of the opioid crisis as a public health problem, the importance of organ donations, a first hand account of the conditions in Puerto Rico and the efforts there of our Rotaractors, and a recap of our district trip to Romania. One of the day’s highlights: A panel of 5 young professionals talked about why they joined Rotary and why they stay in Rotary.
 
We held our annual business meeting where we were greeted by Cape Elizabeth Town Manager Matt Sturgis. DG John gave out a number of awards, recognitions, and thank you’s, including naming Tony Wagner of the South Portland-Cape Elizabeth RC and Bob MacKenzie of the Kennebunk RC co-Rotarians of the Year. Well-deserved recognition for these hard working Rotarians.
 
We remembered the Rotarians we lost this year in a memorial service held in the children’s garden, which featured heartfelt remarks from SPCE president Fran Bagdasarian and Woody Beach of the Westbrook-Gorham RC on the bagpipes.  With thanks to District Historian Marie Williams, we displayed slides in the picnic shelter throughout the day remembering each deceased Rotarian.
Music filled the air, some from our talented Rotarians and some from the beautiful voices of the Pihcintu Choir, a multicultural chorus of immigrant girls from all over the world, and The Clearwater Benders, a rock and roll band of musicians with disabilities who can really rock. Beautiful kites from the Nor’Easters Kite Club adorned the skies.
 
Rotarians and friends constructed and took home 17 little libraries, while children enjoyed arts and crafts, building and flying kites (it was a perfectly windy day!), ice cream, bubbles, beach balls, and a bounce house. Corn hole boards were set up for those who wanted to hone their skills or enter into a friendly competition. Several Shelter Boxes were on display throughout the day.
 
Nancy Irving led a large crew that prepared a terrific summer picnic; no one went home hungry. We also were able to donate food to the South Portland Food Cupboard, some of which went to feed asylum seekers.  We Compost It was able to compost most of our waste. Other sponsors and in-kind donors included Pape Chevrolet, Buffalo Wild Wings, Poland Spring, Aroma Joe’s and Waste Management.  Thanks to the generosity of our clubs, sponsors and volunteers, RotaryFest was both free and priceless!
 
Our thanks go out to the many volunteers who worked to make this day such a success, as well as the large crew of Rotarians who spent Friday afternoon setting up tents and working on the RotaryFest service project cutting, chopping, raking, clipping and working hard to remove invasive species from areas of the park. The value of the work performed has been estimated at $8,000, and incredibly beautiful views were created!  Thank you, too, to the local Rotarians who offered home-stays to fellow Rotarians—and the opportunity to enhance friendships.
 
We can’t thank you all enough for what you did to make RotaryFest a success.  It was a true collaboration and we couldn’t be prouder of how hard everyone worked to make it happen!  Thank you!!!
 
PDG John LoBosco & RotaryFest Chair Lawrence Furbish