Couple arranges free Family Fun Day in Greenville

Children of all ages enjoyed the clown school held Thursday at the Family Fun Day in Greenville. The clowns paraded around the Katahdin parking lot. When Danny Mann, 5, of Dover-Foxcroft, popped his suspender button, clown instructor Pat Huckins of Greenville came to his rescue.
Children of all ages enjoyed the clown school held Thursday at the Family Fun Day in Greenville. The clowns paraded around the Katahdin parking lot. When Danny Mann, 5, of Dover-Foxcroft, popped his suspender button, clown instructor Pat Huckins of Greenville came to his rescue.
After attending clown school, these children gathered for the parade Thursday at Family Fun Day in Greenville. The entire day, that included fireworks, was funded by Lauri and John Waitkus, seasonal residents of the Moosehead Lake region.
After attending clown school, these children gathered for the parade Thursday at Family Fun Day in Greenville. The entire day, that included fireworks, was funded by Lauri and John Waitkus, seasonal residents of the Moosehead Lake region.
Danny Mann III, 5, of Dover-Foxcroft, posed for the crowd at Greenville's Family Fun Day Thursday, sponsored by John and Lauri Waitkus, seasonal residents who also contract with the town for snowmobile trail grooming in the region. Mann is the son of June and Danny Mann Jr.
Danny Mann III, 5, of Dover-Foxcroft, posed for the crowd at Greenville's Family Fun Day Thursday, sponsored by John and Lauri Waitkus, seasonal residents who also contract with the town for snowmobile trail grooming in the region. Mann is the son of June and Danny Mann Jr.
Misty Blue Acres offered free horse-drawn wagon rides Thursday in Greenville as part of Family Fun Day financed by Lauri and John Waitkus, seasonal residents of the region.
Misty Blue Acres offered free horse-drawn wagon rides Thursday in Greenville as part of Family Fun Day financed by Lauri and John Waitkus, seasonal residents of the region.
Nina Kvaracein, 3, of Shrewsburg, Mass. had Tara Heffner, a volunteer at Family Fun Day in Greenville, paint a butterfly on her face Thursday. Her sister Laila, 20 months old, in the background, also got her face painted during the free event. The family, who have a camp on Moosehead Lake, enjoyed the free festivities while vacationing.
Nina Kvaracein, 3, of Shrewsburg, Mass. had Tara Heffner, a volunteer at Family Fun Day in Greenville, paint a butterfly on her face Thursday. Her sister Laila, 20 months old, in the background, also got her face painted during the free event. The family, who have a camp on Moosehead Lake, enjoyed the free festivities while vacationing.
Children of all ages enjoyed the clown school held Thursday at the Family Fun Day in Greenville. The clowns paraded around the Katahdin parking lot. When Danny Mann, 5, of Dover-Foxcroft, popped his suspender button, clown instructor Pat Huckins of Greenville came to his rescue.
Children of all ages enjoyed the clown school held Thursday at the Family Fun Day in Greenville. The clowns paraded around the Katahdin parking lot. When Danny Mann, 5, of Dover-Foxcroft, popped his suspender button, clown instructor Pat Huckins of Greenville came to his rescue.
Dave Vaughn of Greenville, who with his wife Pat Huckins, offered a clown school at Family Fun Day, encourages one of the student clowns to jump the tightrope Thursday in Greenville.
Dave Vaughn of Greenville, who with his wife Pat Huckins, offered a clown school at Family Fun Day, encourages one of the student clowns to jump the tightrope Thursday in Greenville.
Posted Feb. 24, 2011, at 10:15 p.m.

GREENVILLE,  Maine — Like Pied Pipers, John and Lauri Waitkus drew the attention of children from throughout the Moosehead Lake region Thursday as the seasonal Greenville residents hosted their fourth annual Family Fun Day.

The couple, who own a construction company in Massachusetts specializing in bridges, adore their adopted hometown, enjoy children and love snowmobiling, so the combination made sense, according to Lauri Waitkus. Attendance has grown each year at the event, and about 400 children participated last year.

“We enjoy seeing the kids and the families come to Greenville to enjoy the winter festivities,” Lauri Waitkus said Thursday. “It’s a fun time for the whole family to get out and enjoy a beautiful day, and then we top it off with fireworks.”

Enjoyment it was. The kids were immersed in the activities, having their faces painted, watching a juggler’s antics, riding in a horse-drawn wagon and making clowns of themselves.

“This is awesome,” Isaac Burdin, 9, of Greenville said Thursday. He held an animal balloon while waiting for clown school. Asked what he would say to the Waitkuses for the free fun, Burdin said, “A thank-you.”

“I think this is fantastic, a day like this for family activities. This town is just full of families right now,” Greenville Town Manager Gary Lamb said Thursday. He said snowmobilers were everywhere and that they and others were looking forward to the fireworks. “This community is extremely appreciative of that gift.”

Asked how much the couple invests in the event, Lauri Waitkus replied, “That’s not what’s important.” While most of the costs are borne by the couple, several volunteers assisted at the event, including Pat Huckins and her husband, Dave Vaughn, of Greenville, who donated their time and clown outfits for the clown school and parade.

Lauri Waitkus said it takes the couple about three months to coordinate the events.

For several years, the Waitkuses have contracted with Greenville to groom about 61 miles of the Interconnecting Snowmobile Trail in the Moosehead Lake region. The contract amount never has covered the grooming costs, but that hasn’t deterred them from providing the service.

“You never make money grooming, it’s just something that John and I like doing,” Lauri Waitkus said. “We’re a snowmobiling family, and we enjoy the area.”

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