June 23, 2018
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Funds being raised to assist Gouldsboro farm fire victims

Bill Trotter | BDN
Bill Trotter | BDN
Marissa Venturi, an apprentice at Darthia Farm in Gouldsboro, stands Friday, May 11, 2012, in a muddy pit where a barn had burned down five days before, killing more than 80 animals that were inside. Bill Thayer, seen in the background, and his wife Cynthia plan to rebuild the barn and acquire new animals, he said Friday.
By Bill Trotter, BDN Staff

GOULDSBORO, Maine — Several events are being planned as fundraisers for Darthia Farm, which lost dozens of animals last week in a fire that consumed a 153-year-old barn.

Several organizations and friends of Bill and Cynthia Thayer, who have owned and run the organic farm since 1976, have set up fundraising efforts to help the Thayers rebuild the barn and replace some of the animals. Three draft horses, two pigs, two calves, more than a dozen sheep and about 60 chicks were in the barn and perished in the May 7 blaze.

One of the fundraisers will take place Saturday night at The Pines, an event hall and restaurant on Route 1 in Milbridge. The Pines will hold an open mike night beginning around 6 p.m. that will include live music and some impromptu jazz sessions, according to Steven Teegarden. Donations will be accepted but there is no cover charge, he indicated Wednesday in an email. He said there will be a 50-50 raffle and that The Pines will donate 20 percent of its proceeds that night to the Thayers.

On Sunday, a jazz music fundraiser will be held 1-4 p.m. at Hammond Hall in Winter Harbor. The event, admission to which will be by donation, will feature local musician Bruce Cassaday and friends.

Another day of music to benefit the farm is being planned for Saturday, July 7, in the village of Prospect Harbor. Details for the July 7 event are not final.

According to people involved in the overall fundraising effort, more than $30,000 has been raised so far. Donations can be sent to Darthia Farm Phoenix Fund c/o Bar Harbor Bank & Trust, P.O. Box 159, Winter Harbor 04693, or made online at GiveForward.com. The fundraising goal for Darthia Farm at GiveForward.com is $50,000.

Bill Thayer has said that, even without the barn, the farm will continue to operate this summer. Farm shares will be available to participating members of the farm’s community-supported agriculture program, he said recently, and the farm store will be open as usual.

Thayer has said a heat lamp left on in the barn for chicks is suspected to be the culprit in the blaze. He said he hopes a new barn can be in place by this fall.

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