May 24, 2018
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Harmony group works to revive Grange hall

By Diana Bowley, BDN Staff

HARMONY, Maine — A group of Harmony residents is working to restore the Grange hall and convert it into a community hub where families can spend quality time.

The group first started holding musical jams featuring local entertainers on Friday nights and now has added a coffeehouse once a month starting this Saturday.

“We live in a time right now where we’re getting back to the old ways of families doing positive things, like playing games and having movie nights,” resident and volunteer Craig Stutzman said Monday.

“I think there is a real need for people to get back to that,” Stutzman said, noting that the Grange makes an ideal place for such gatherings. Donations from the Friday night Bluegrass-Old Country jams and the coffeehouse will be invested in the building. The well and septic systems have been upgraded, and more work is being planned.

Stutzman said the Friday night jams “really kind of blossomed,” and now draw about 20 local musicians and 80 to 100 listeners. These jams have raised nearly $6,000 in donations at the door in the approximately five months they have been held, he noted.

The featured group at Saturday’s coffeehouse at 7 p.m. will be the Abbott Hill Ramblers. Admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and students, $20 for a family. A meal of chili, bread and desserts prepared by Karen Stutzman will be available during a 6 p.m. social hour for $5 a person.

This Saturday’s show will be dedicated to 8-year-old Caitlin McKenney who had a cancerous tumor that caused her to lose a kidney.

“It’s a celebration for Caitlin,” Stutzman said, noting that her last chemotherapy treatment is today. “She’s just really inspired the whole community.”

To help Caitlin’s family, a drawing will be held Saturday of donated items, such as a handmade Adirondack chair, homemade quilt, new bicycle, and box of toys. Tickets for the drawing are $1 each or six for $5.

In addition to the jams and the coffeehouse, the volunteers hope to sponsor a movie night and a weekly game night for families. Stutzman said businesses have donated a pool table, an air hockey table and other games.

Financial donations are being accepted by the group to help keep the heat on in the building through the winter. For information or to make a donation, call Stutzman at 683-2295.

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