U.S. Mint Unveils New N.H. Quarter At Festival

U.S. Mint Unveils New N.H. Quarter At Festival

By Heather Sanderson,

Hampton Union Contributing Writer

Hampton Union, Friday, August 18, 2000
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
New Hampshire Quarter
A sand sculpture of the new New Hampshire quarter at Hampton Beach.
{Photo by Emily Reily}

HAMPTON — Thunder and lightning heralded the arrival of Jay Johnson, Director of the U.S. Mint to Hampton Beach early Wednesday morning.

Johnson was in Hampton for a special ceremony to commemorate the launch of the newest coin in the 50 State Quarters Program honoring New Hampshire.

Delayed by over an hour because of the rain, the ceremony kicked off at 10 o'clock with the unveiling of a sand sculpture depicting the New Hampshire quarter. Constructed by local resident Greg Grady, the sand sculpture took 60 hours to make and used 10 tons of sand, which was imported from Newmarket.

Lori Arntz-Tournoux of Louisville, Ohio, assisted Grady in his work. The US Mint commissioned Grady following a call they made to the local Hampton Library. Someone at the library knew Grady and recommended him for the job.

"It's a small world," said a visibly exhausted Grady. Since Monday, Grady worked on the sculpture in practically non-stop rain, which he confessed "made it difficult and very tedious." Grady's efforts paid off, however, as vacationers and residents crowded around the sculpture to snap photos. Immediately following the ceremony, the Hampton Beach Children's Festival sandcastle contest got underway.

"We checked with the weather bureau," said Johnson "and asked if they could do something to wet the sand down, so the kids can get the sand to stick."

No doubt the 170 entrants in the competition appreciated Johnson's request. The sand was so wet that it gave them more time to work on their creations and less time running to the ocean for buckets of water. The entrants were divided into four age categories, with only the 3-5 age group allowed "parental instruction" from the sidelines.

Four-year-old Eliza Lore of Durham created what she called a "colorful castle," using pieces of candy to represent jewels. "It was difficult," she said, "but I don't mind if I win or not."

Numerous prizes donated by local business were awarded to the winners and all participants received a special memento of the event — their very own New Hampshire Quarter.

New 25 cent coin
A sand sculpture of the new
New Hampshire quarter.
{Photo courtesy of Richard Fitts}
"One of best things about the State Quarter Program," said Johnson, "is the educational factor." Each quarter gives information about the state for which it is being honored. The New Hampshire Quarter, for instance, contains nine stars, signifying New Hampshire's status as the ninth state in the Union. It is also the only quarter with "two heads," the second head being the Old Man and the Mountain."

Since the inception of the 50 State Quarters Program two years ago, demand for the quarters has skyrocketed. When the first quarter honoring the State of Delaware was minted, 600 million were produced. With the release of the New Hampshire Quarter, that number has now risen to 1.3 billion.

"Over 100 million people all over the world are collecting the coins," said Johnson. For people interested in learning more about the US Mint, or for teachers wishing to access lesson plans, Johnson recommends the mint's Web site www.usmint.gov.

The Hampton Beach Children's Festival will continue through Saturday, August 19.

The festival has been plagued by rainy weather all week. Rain cancelled Monday's events, including a magic show, golf tournament and touch pool according to Jennifer Conlan, one of the festivals organizers.

The touch pool was postponed to Wednesday, but then had to be cancelled all together because of the weather, Conlan said.

"Today is fine, so it's looking good," Conlan said Thursday.

For information call the Hampton Beach Chamber of Commerce at (603) 926-8717.

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