Chester Greenwood Day
Even if you’ve never heard of Chester Greenwood, chances are, he’s been keeping your ears warm for years. Greenwood was born on December 4, 1858, in Farmington, Maine. At the age of fifteen, he fashioned the first pair of earmuffs, with his grandmother’s help, from wire, beaver fur and velvet.
He was awarded a U.S. patent for his “ear-mufflers” in 1877. By his mid-20s, 50,000 pairs of Greenwood Champion Ear Protectors were being mass-produced annually at a local factory.
He accumulated over 100 more patents for such diverse inventions as a mechanical mousetrap, steel-toothed rake, donut hook and a shock absorber that became the basis for a component of airplane landing gear.
Farmington became the Earmuff Capital of the World. By 1937, when Greenwood died, his company had its best year ever, selling 400,000 pairs.
In 1977, the state of Maine declared December 21–the first day of winter–to be Chester Greenwood Day. In Farmington, organizers later moved the parade to the first Saturday of the month so it would fall closer to Greenwood’s birthday and provide attendees a better chance of warm weather.
Festivities in Farmington
The 39th annual Chester Greenwood Day festivities will include the annual Chester Greenwood Day 5K Run/Walk, Gingerbread House Contest, Chili Challenge, Annual Polar Bear Dip and, most intriguingly, a performance by clog dancing group InClogNeatO to take place in front of the Bangor Savings Bank.
As always, the highlight of the day’s activities will be the Chester Greenwood Day parade. The theme for 2015 is “Favorite Characters” and all are welcome to participate. Just dress up as your favorite book, movie, or TV character and remember to include earmuffs on your float. (Seriously, floats without them will be disqualified.)
All floats will be judged on theme, originality, appearance, and performance combined. Entries which espouse political views supported by individuals, groups or political action committees (PACs), will be barred from the parade route.
Throwing candy from any float is forbidden as this may cause children to run into the street and be struck by extremely slow-moving parade vehicles. (Flying sweets also pose a risk of eye injury to paradegoers not wearing glasses.) Anyone throwing anything from any entry will result in the thrower and everyone else on the float being banned from the parade for life.
Now, get out there, have fun and celebrate the man who invented ear hats!