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Winter Carnival 1953

Odds and Ends From The MUSEUM!

By Trudy Wyman, Curator, Millinocket Historical Society Museum

“Skis, skates and snowshoes were on the feet of high school students from several Penobscot County schools on Saturday, January 31, 1953 as they competed in the very first Stearns High School Winter Carnival. Chills and spills were in evidence as a large crowd watched the slalom runs and ski jumping.” The events took place at local recreation department venues. The winter carnival was sponsored by the Northern Penobscot Schoolmasters Club and they donated the trophies for the winning teams. The Millinocket Recreation Department and Stearns High School staff directed the event.

Events included ski jumping, downhill skiing, slalom races, cross-country ski and snowshoe races and ski and snowshoe dashes and skating competitions. Individual event winners were awarded ribbons. There were competitions for boys and for girls, but no mixed events. Competing schools included Stearns, East Millinocket, Mattawamkeag, Lee Academy, Lincoln, Howland and Wytopitlock. Some winners included Dick Jones (1st, SHS), Sonny Daley (2nd, SHS) and Ira Miller (3rd, Schenck HS) in ski jumping. The girls ski dash leaders were Daniell (1st), Blake (2nd), and Haynes (3rd), all from Stearns. Final top school points were as follows: Stearns, 72; Lincoln, 24; East Millinocket, 20.

The Stearns HS Future Homemakers Club and Mechanical Engineer’s Club had a coffee and hot dog stand near the site. “It was greatly appreciated by the crowd watching the meet in near zero weather.” Luncheon was served to the competitors at the high school. A concession stand near the ski slope was under the charge of Miss Rena Allen and John Hogan.

The day ended with the grand Carnival Ball attended by over 600 people. SHS junior Shirley Goodwin was crowned queen of the ball. Her attendants were Donna Clark (senior), Arlene Cotton (sophomore) and Betty Boddy (freshman). For the grand march, Miss Goodwin was escorted Ivan Ames, superintendent of the Great Northern Paper Company. Ames presented gifts to the queen’s attendants and Wally Delahanty, Rec director, presented a bouquet of American beauty roses to the queen. The trophies from the day’s events were handed out by Principal Roy Hayes. Music was furnished by Rod Palmer’s Orchestra from Houlton.

The queen and her court were nominated by the four classes at Stearns. Then the four nominees and their managers were challenged to sell tickets to the Carnival Ball. The one selling the most tickets would be named queen. One of the candidates recently told this writer that she deliberately did not try to win in the ticket sales as she was not a good dancer and did not want to have to dance with the GNP mill superintendent!

Winter Carnivals like this were popular winter events in many schools in Maine in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Information for this article is from Stearns yearbooks and Recreation Departments news articles in Millinocket Journal.

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