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Schaake, McGinnis, Windemiller Honored

By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Friday, August 15, 2008

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
Skip Windemiller is being honored for his 17 years of service as precinct commissioner, as well as being the owner of Oceanside Inn for the last 30 years.
[Courtesy photo]

HAMPTON -- The Hampton Beach Village District Precinct will honor three individuals who have aided in making the beach what it is today.

Fred Schaake, co-owner of the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom, Skip Windemiller, former precinct commissioner, and the late Doc McGinnis, who did weekly sing-alongs on the Sea Shell Stage in the 1960s, will all be honored on Saturday, Aug. 16.

The ceremony, which is being hosted by Jack Knox, will take place at 7 p.m. at the Sea Shell Stage, followed by a performance of Tops In Blue Air Force Band and a special fireworks show. This is the second year in a row the precinct, which puts on the majority of the events at Hampton Beach, including the Sand Sculpting Competition, has decided to honor those who have made contributions over the years to Hampton Beach.

"We did it last year for the precinct's 100th anniversary and we thought this is something we should be doing every year," said Maureen Buckley, who is organizing the event.

The three individuals to be honored were selected by precinct commissioners Gary Kubik, Chuck Rage and Judy White.

Fred Schaake will be honored at an event sponsored by Hampton Beach Village Precinct for his great additions to Hampton Beach, most notably as the co-owner and one of the creators of the Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom.
[Courtesy photo]
Schaake has left an indelible mark on Hampton Beach

through his ownership of Hampton Beach Casino Ball-room, commissioners said. "He basically transformed the Casino into what it is today," Buckley said on why Schaake was selected for the honor.

Schaake, along with several partners, purchased the building for the Casino Ballroom in 1976 for $1 million. They transformed the then-deteriorating structure into what it is now by removing the old bowling alley and replacing it with retail space.

Aside from the Casino Ballroom, Schaake replaced the old Ocean House Hotel and put in the first seasonal McDonald's restaurant in the nation, which is still not open during the winter, and he also built the water slide park.

Buckley said Windemiller was not only a precinct commissioner for 17 years but his Oceanside Inn has be-come a staple business at the beach.

"He purchased the property, back in 1979 and now they are celebrating their 30th anniversary," said Buckley, adding Windemiller did a lot of great helped improve the relationship between the town and precinct starting when he served on the Budget Committee. While he's no longer a precinct commissioner, Windemiller is still active within the precinct and is on the board of directors for the Hampton Area Chamber of Commerce.

Buckley said the last honoree was recommended to the commissioners by Knox, who books all the entertainment at the Sea Shell Stage. "The McGinnis family would al-ways come up and spend their summers at Hampton Beach," Buckley said.

Buckley said in the 1940s, McGinnis was known for singing duets at Hampton Beach on WEEI's radio show, "Breakfast on the Beach." "I think they held it from the casino restaurant, which is now the Whale's Tale," Buckley said.

McGinnis is probably more well known, however, for hosting the weekly sing-alongs at the beach. He took over the hosting gig from his friend Bill Elliot, "The Singing Cop," in the 1960s.

"He and his family also represented Hampton Beach at the World Fair in New York in 1964," Buckley said. McGinnis died in 2006 at age 94.

Hampton Beach Village District Precinct wIll honor Fred Schaake, Skip Windemiller and the late Doc McGinnis at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 16 at the Sea Shell Stage. The event is hosted by Jack Knox and will be followed by a performance of Tops In Blue Air Force Band and a special fireworks show.
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