St. John Valley

High School students once again among Summerfest vendors

VAN BUREN, Maine — Chamber members, volunteers and students met Tuesday to plan for this year’s Summerfest celebration, Aug. 5 and 6. Since the late 1990s, community members have gathered along Main Street and at the boat landing park to celebrate the summer, with food, craft vendors and entertainment.

Debby Cyr, the Greater Van Buren Chamber of Commerce president and treasurer, said the emphasis is on promoting local businesses and providing opportunities for local entrepreneurs and organizations to take part. This includes students from Van Buren’s high school.

Abby Ayotte is among a group of freshmen who will be working a booth this year, in order to raise money for her class.

“I am really looking forward to spending time with my classmates. It will be a bonding experience,” Ayotte said following Tuesday’s meeting.

This year, the freshmen will be offering fun activities at their booth, including Pie in the Face and temporary tattoos.

“I look forward to seeing all the people visiting our booth,” said sophomore Erica Ouellette.

As a freshman, Ouellette made snow cones at last year’s Summerfest. Ouellette’s classmate, Luc Perreault, will be in charge of snow cones this year.

“My favorite part last year was the Keystone Cops,” said Perreault, who played the part of a criminal in 2016. “I got chased a lot. It was fun.”

Each of the class levels at Van Buren District Secondary School will have booths this year.

Joining the students will be various local vendors, selling food or crafts, or offering games. Booths will be set up on Main Street, Saturday afternoon and evening. A portion of the street will be closed starting at 4 p.m., to allow for pedestrian traffic amongst the vendor booths and local businesses, and to make room for the annual street dance. Saturday evening, the  local band Turning Point is scheduled to play on Main Street.

On Sunday, Aug. 6, activities move to the park by the boat landing. Once again vendors will be set up and kids activities will be available.

Also at the park on Sunday, community members and others can take part in the annual talent show. This will be followed by dance music provided by a dee jay and fireworks after sunset.

The Summerfest parade will start at 3 p.m., also on Sunday. This will be preceded by the Austin West Memorial Ride, put on by the Van Buren ATV Club. A duck race is set to take place Sunday afternoon, with small plastic ducks being launched from the international bridge. They will be collected down river after the race.

Volunteers and organizers of this year’s Van Buren Summerfest met, Tuesday, July 11. (Don Eno)

Organizers will have a final schedule in the coming weeks, Cyr said. Planners are looking at creating limited handicap parking for Summerfest, especially on Sunday for activities at the boat landing.

The chamber, which operates on a shoestring budget, according to Cyr, puts on Summerfest with the help of many volunteers and some support from the Van Buren town office.

“I cannot ask for better,” Cyr said of the assistance from new town manager Nancy Troeger.

Vendors are being charged a $25 fee to set up for one day of the Summerfest or $40 for both days. For more information, call the chamber office at 868-5059.

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