2017-08-11 / Ticket

104 years of the Georgetown Working League Fair

After more than a century, GWL still brings women together
BY DARCIE MOORE
Times Record Staff


THE CENTERPIECE of Saturday’s Georgetown Working League Fair is this hanging art quilt titled "Call of the Loon," which pays tribute to the late Dahlov Ipcar, beloved Georgetown resident, painter, children's book author and illustrator, and icon of the art world. Ipcar died in Februar y at age 99 but had granted GWL permission to use the loons depicted in her Maine Alphabet book for the quilt, which will be raffled off. 
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO THE CENTERPIECE of Saturday’s Georgetown Working League Fair is this hanging art quilt titled "Call of the Loon," which pays tribute to the late Dahlov Ipcar, beloved Georgetown resident, painter, children's book author and illustrator, and icon of the art world. Ipcar died in Februar y at age 99 but had granted GWL permission to use the loons depicted in her Maine Alphabet book for the quilt, which will be raffled off. CONTRIBUTED PHOTO GEORGETOWN

It may be nicknamed “the state’s shortest fair,” but the 104th annual Georgetown Working League Fair is expected to draw big crowds this weekend.

The fair — to be held at Georgetown Central School from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday — is GWL’s largest fundraising event of the year, with proceeds going toward student scholarships and town services such as the volunteer fire department and library.

A history of charity


THE GEORGETOWN WORKING LEAGUE FAIR, seen in the top photo from a previous year, is scheduled this year for Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Above, Members of the Georgetown Working League celebrate the birthday of GWL member Mary Ann Taylor in 2014. 
CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS THE GEORGETOWN WORKING LEAGUE FAIR, seen in the top photo from a previous year, is scheduled this year for Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Above, Members of the Georgetown Working League celebrate the birthday of GWL member Mary Ann Taylor in 2014. CONTRIBUTED PHOTOS Past GWL president Leona Dufour said the Georgetown Working League began as an auxiliary of the church.

“Pot lucks, bake sales and fairs were fundraising venues to take care of some of the First Baptist’s needs, and to some extent, we could source the league’s inclination for doing good works to First Baptist’s religious atmosphere,” Dufour said. “By 1913, these women had organized into the Georgetown Working League, still affiliated with the church.”

According to information from Dufour, the league’s first fair was held in August 1913 at the home of a Mrs. Willard Dalrymple of Kennebec Point. The league raised around $100 selling aprons, and used the money to purchase wood to heat the First Baptist Church.

The league continued with the annual fairs, raising money that allowed them to paint the parish hall, buy spoons for the church kitchen and purchase fuel. In 1917, the group agreed to do work for the Red Cross, and from then on raised money for outside organizations in addition to the church. They would continue to donate to Red Cross during and after World War II, and in postwar years would also contribute to heart and cancer research and the Crippled Children’s Fund.

According to Dufour, it wasn’t until the parsonage was sold sometime in the 1970s that the league separated from First Baptist Church, going on to become a nonprofit organization in 1988. The league established its first scholarship in 1983 — the Josephine Hooker Shain awarded annually to an entering college freshman. Seven years later GWL established its own annual scholarship. Winners attend an annual scholarship luncheon where they share their goals and progress with the league. This year, the Georgetown Working League was able to present 18 scholarships.

AMONG THE VARIETY OF COLLECTIBLES, crafts and other wears sold at the Georgetown Working League Fair is jewelry, as seen here.CONTRIBUTED PHOTO AMONG THE VARIETY OF COLLECTIBLES, crafts and other wears sold at the Georgetown Working League Fair is jewelry, as seen here.CONTRIBUTED PHOTO Four decades of quilts

For the country’s bicentennial in 1977, the league made a hand-stitched churn block quilt to auction off. That started an annual tradition, and this year the League is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the GWL Fair quilt.

The group’s publicity chairwoman Susan Means said a core group of women gather every Monday to quilt, in addition to crafting items such as balsam bags, seashore wreaths, baby quilts, and knitted items for their ongoing fundraising.

This year’s quilt is titled “Call of the Loon,” a tribute by league members to their friend and longtime GWL member Dahlov Ipcar, who died at age 99 in February. Ipcar was a beloved resident, painter, children’s book author and illustrator. The quilt in her honor features a fabric interpretation of the loon gracing the cover of one of Dahlov’s children’s books.

Raffle tickets for the quilt are $1 each or $5 for a book of seven. Tickets will be sold during the fair and the drawing will happen at the end of the event at 2 p.m.

‘Let us dwell together in Unity’

According to Means, the Georgetown Working League now has more than 50 member and 28 honorary members. It is a group of very smart women, many retired teachers who volunteer at the library and school, supporting the town in various ways. It is a mix of locals, some who have left and returned, and new comers who have been invited into the fold.

The league isn’t just about what they are doing for the town, but also about camaraderie and taking care of one another, Means said.

Dufour said the GWL’s motto remains a mix of fable and scripture: “In Union there is strength. Let us dwell together in Unity.” She believes the motto is what makes the league what it is today — women of different faiths, ages and abilities united to help their community.

“I believe that those women, 100 years ago, who came together to form the Georgetown Working League, certainly saw their share of life’s difficulties and decided to make a difference and commit themselves to the service of this island and even to the world out there,” Dufour said.

Politics and religion are removed from the organization, she said.

“We have become, 100 years later, an organization devoid of what usually divides people,” Dufour said.

dmoore@timesrecord.com

At the fair

The fair features a lot of food, including 200 pounds of lobster for the fair’s lobster salad. In addition, there is also turkey and pasta salads, fresh fruit, homemade blueberry cake, and beverages and baked goods for sale.

A flea market features household decor, small electronics and appliances, small furniture, antiques and collectibles and trendy or retro jewelry and some estate pieces are for sale. The fair also features a silent auction.

Artisans will showcase baskets, handmade jewelry, sculptures, paintings, wood working and photography.

Fair areas

• White Elephants — Household decor, dishes, linens, small furniture, appliances, electronics, garden supplies, toys, etc.

• Antiques & Collectibles — Featuring vintage and collectible items

• Jewelry — A mix of current, retro and estate pieces

• Gift Boutique — Hand-crafted favorites like Maine balsam bags, seashore wreaths, baby quilts, and knitted items, to name just a few

• Local artists and craftspeople — Painters, woodworkers, photographers, jewelry makers, basket weavers, paper artists, sculptors and more

• Silent Auction — Bid on donated items from local businesses, handmade items by local artisans and unique “experiences” in Georgetown

• Maine children’s authors — meet, chat with and purchase books from Maine authors

• Baked Goods — Homemade goodies of all sorts by Georgetown bakers

• Sit-down Lunch — Fresh lobster or turkey salad, fruit, pasta salad, blueberry cake and a beverage

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