January 18, 2022

Calais Cupids spread joy despite holiday snowstorm

CALAIS – The love bugs were buzzing around the Cupid Brigade Factory Wednesday morning getting ready for their flight around eastern Washington County to bring Happy Valentine cheer to a lot of surprised people.

Just for the day, the Downeast Heritage Museum was turned into a sweetheart factory as women rolled red carnations in tissue paper and tied a ribbon around them. They added a chocolate lollipop and a message of cheer.

“All the Cupids are getting ready to go out to deliver the flowers and candy,” said head factory foreman Billie Parks.

Gertie Johnston was on the assembly line. “We are getting the flowers ready,” she said. Velda Lowell was sticking chocolate lollipops in with the carnations.

Paul Wilson, dressed in a jaunty hat, was helping out even though he had a “wicked” bad cold. “We raised over $600 last year [for the St. Croix No. 1 Fire Hall restoration project], and we have 100 people to deliver carnations to this year,” he said. “I love doing this, and it’s for a very good cause.”

Head Cupid Vicki Farrell, manager of the Tourist Information Center, had already left the factory delivering flowers and candy as far north as Princeton.

The next delivery was made by Bill Kolodnicki, manager of the Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge who wore a red shirt under a black suit with white wings attached. The male Cupid delivered one of his surprise gifts to Nancy Gillis, owner of TLC Homecare of Calais.

Getting ready to take flight were Cathy Walton and Candy Dwelley. “It’s Valentine’s Day and we just want to get people in a good mood and have a little laugh and enjoy the day,” said Walton, who was dressed in a very short white skirt and a red shirt. She even had a quiver of arrows by her side.

Dwelley was wearing striped pajamas and a red jacket. Asked if the pajama bottoms belonged to her husband, city Councilor Alan Dwelley, Candy said with a laugh, “No, thankfully.” Dwelley said she was running around in her cupid suit to “bring love and joy to everyone.”

The Cupids couldn’t linger because many were flying in the face of a storm front that was headed toward Washington County. By 9 a.m., even though Calais was blanketed by snow, they still were making their rounds.

The Cupids are all supporters of the 130-year-old St. Croix No. 1 Fire Hall on Church Street. The firehouse that was built in 1874 is in need of a lot of work, so a great deal of money is needed to complete the project.

And a dedicated group of supporters they are.

For more than two years they have been busy with yard sales and raffles to fix the old building $1 at a time. They have even cooked and sold hundreds of hot dogs at concerts and parades.

Anyone who missed the fun can still donate money to the project. Make checks payable to the St. Croix #1 Restoration Project and send them to: City of Calais’ Cupid Brigade, P.O. Box 413, Calais 04619.

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