Hayseed Ball coming up

BAR HARBOR — The 124th annual Hayseed Ball, the longest-running event of its kind still being held in Downeast Maine, is slated for the Atlantic Oceanside Hotel on Eden Street on Friday, Feb. 9.

The dance is fully organized and funded by The 40 Hayseeders, a group that formed in 1894. At that time, area residents were not invited to the fancy parties, dinners and dances held all summer long by wealthy “cottagers.” Many towns and villages held “spoof” events during the winter months. Only year-rounders were invited. Rather than dressing to the “nines,” serving top shelf food and drink and importing musicians from Boston and New York, Waybackers, as they came to be known, encouraged attendees to dress up like farmers and hicks. Signs were deliberately misspelled. To this day, the only foods served at the dance are plain doughnuts and salted cod fish. Modern liquor laws mean liquid adult refreshment at the dance must conform to state laws. A live band performs the music, including the song for the “Grand March” that kicks off the evening.

Each year, the Hayseeders, who wear numbered “badges” that often are passed down through multiple generations of a family, organize the dance and pay dues that fund the event. No tickets are available for purchase. Annually an “invitashun” is produced that includes a satirical poem reviewing the past year’s state, local and national events, all with a humorous approach.

Each Hayseeder is allocated tickets for their friends and family. There is no open admission at the door. To get tickets, those who might be interested can contact one of the 40 Hayseeders directly.

Members who can help with tickets this year include Tommy Allen, Matt Bartlett, Art Blank, Steve Boucher, Earl Brechlin, Jon Carter, Richard Cleary, James W. Collier, John Collier, Robert Collier, Daniel Daigle, Bob Davis, Jeff Dobbs, Shaun Farrar, Richard Fox, Michael Gurtler, Sean Hall, Michael Hallet, Dale Harding, Rob Jordan, Terrance Kelley, Jon Levesque, Seth Libby, Joel Linscott, Jeff Miller, Edward Monat, John Mountford, Robert Packie, Paul Paradis, Alexander Phillips, Steve Powell, Allen Sawyer, Charlie Sidman, Ken Smith, Tim Smith, Les Spurling, Mike Staggs, Bill Townsend and Chris White.

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