FRANKLIN — On a normal day in the Town of Franklin, cows may be easier to find than people and the roads may be filled with more tractors than cars.
“It’s been kind of a silent place,” said resident Larry Myott by phone yesterday.
But during the festivities of Celebrate Lake Carmi, taking place Thursday through Saturday, the edges of the small town expand in population, and the shores of its lake overflow. Beginning tomorrow, residents and visitors will take part in the third annual multi-day event.
“People come from a long way,” said Myott, who is also the chair of the celebration’s festivities. “Every road that has a view of the lake is plugged up with cars. Every cottage around the lake will be fully lit.”
Things kick off with a flyboarding demonstration at 5 p.m. on Thursday at North Beach, where, using a water-propelled jetpack with an attached personal watercraft, a flyboarder will sail up to 45 feet above the lake. The new, futuristic sport will be followed at 6 p.m. with an event inspired by the past: a pirate invasion.
The pirates are a new addition to Celebrate Lake Carmi, which has been held for the past three years.
“There’s always something new,” said Myott.
“We’ll probably have to work on it,” said Lake Carmi Campers Association (LCCA) President Peter Benevento yesterday. “But I think it’s something everybody will get a kick out of.”
At 7 p.m., the pontoon boat relay race will start, with five teams each racing six boats. The boats will have to circle the lake three times total, and they will pass off a baton at five relay points. Interested spectators can put some money on their favorite team and enter the raffle, which is giving away $1,250 in prizes. Raffle tickets can be picked up at various locations locally (see box).
Once the relay race is completed and raffle winners drawn, fireworks will begin at 9:30 Thursday night. According to Benevento and Myott, seeing the cars line the roadways afterwards is almost as much as a show as the fireworks themselves.
“It just lights up the roadways,” said Benevento. “You never see that at all.”
On Friday, July 4, family day celebrations will take place all day. Then on Saturday, events begin at 10 a.m. at Sandy Bay with a sail fest around the lake.
“We’re trying to get as many sailboats out on the lake as possible,” said Benevento. “It’s not a race or anything like that.”
He added, “It’s a pretty sight.”
From 4 to 7 p.m. on Saturday, the Franklin Fire Department will hold a barbeque at Franklin Elementary School (tickets for which can be picked up at the Franklin Fire Department or at the Franklin Telephone Company). Then at 7 p.m., the last activity will begin, the Parade of Champions. The Enosburgh Town Band will play it floats around the lake, and the winners of the pontoon boat relay race will follow behind.
Celebrate Lake Carmi, in addition to being just plain fun, is meant to bring attention to Franklin’s quietly beautiful and valuable central feature: the lake.
As the fourth largest natural lake in Vermont, the 1,400-acre body of water is not insignificant.
“The whole thing is to make people aware of Lake Carmi,” said Myott. “Both the social and recreational activities recognize the lake.”
“It showcases it,” said Benevento.
According to Benevento, the LCCA not only wants to raise awareness about the lake, but also wants to protect it.
In conjunction with the Franklin Watershed Committee, the LCCA helps keep sediment and phosphorous out of the lake as much as possible. The LCCA also works on managing milfoil.
“We have a weed harvester that helps us with the milfoil in the lake,” said Benevento. However, the harvester doesn’t appear to be doing the fullest job that could be done. “It manages it, but it doesn’t eliminate it,” he said.
The LCCA is looking at other ways to eradicate the milfoil and keep it from interfering with recreational activities in the lake. Herbicide, or perhaps a new weed harvester, may do the trick, said Benevento.
“All these things take a lot of money,” he added. The pontoon boat relay race raffle proceeds will go into a fund for these types of items, which will eventually be purchased for the lake.
Aside from raising funds and awareness, Benevento praised Celebrate Lake Carmi as a way to bring people together over a treasured feature of Franklin.
“As far as the lake community is concerned and the town community is concerned, it’s a great celebration,” said Benevento. “It highlights how important the lake is and what a valuable resource for the people of Franklin and the community.”
To enter the relay race raffle:
Raffle tickets are $5 for a book of three tickets, and can be bought at Boat Headquarters in Swanton, Park Side Grill in Enosburg Falls, Byam’s Quick Stop in East Franklin, Franklin General Store in Franklin, Tammy’s Hair Care in Enosburg Falls, and Marketplace Hair Styling in Enosburg Falls.
Participants place their selection of the winning team’s ticket in a bucket. Following the race, the winning team’s tickets are sorted from the losers and then five tickets will be drawn separately as raffle winners. First place wins $500, second place wins $300, third place wins $200, fourth place wins $150, and fifth place wins $100.
The teams to choose from are:
YELLOW TEAM: The Wildcats of Westcott/Mullen Shore
RED TEAM: The Pirates of Patton/Blackwoods
BLUE TEAM: The Hammerheads of Hammond Shore
GREEN TEAM: The Dueling Dolphins of Dewing/Camp Road
ORANGE TEAM: The Carmi Vipers of Vic’s Crossing/Shore Rd/King’s Court