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Community comes together to celebrate Summerfest in Van Buren

A free petting zoo was available for visitors of the Van Buren Summerfest, Saturday, Aug. 5. (Elizabeth Theriault | SJVT/FhF)

Locals gathered on Main Street in Van Buren for games, food and crafts during the annual Summerfest held Aug. 4 through 6.

“The festival is a place where the community can come together for fun, for the kids to have a place to hang out, and for [high school] classes and town vendors to raise money,” said Debbie Cyr, head of the Van Buren Chamber of Commerce. “There’s a lot of great people here in the community, and it’s nice to bring them all together.”

On Saturday, part of Main Street was blocked off to allow vendors and other activities to be set up. A free petting zoo and children’s activity center were available, and each class of the Van Buren High School had a booth set up for fundraising. Face painting, food, and music also were featured on Saturday.

“This festival has been going on as long as I can remember,” said Nancy Traeger, Van Buren Town Manager. “And this year was a good turnout of local people.”

Guests pay to throw a pie in the face of volunteers at the Van Buren Class of 2021 fundraiser, during the Van Buren Summerfest on Saturday, Aug. 5. (Elizabeth Theriault | SJVT/FhF)

When the bouncy houses that were originally planned for Saturday had to be postponed due to wind and weather conditions, Traeger pulled out arts and craft supplies from the library and set up a kids activity center to help keep youngsters entertained during the festival.

Olivia Michaud and Morgan Thibodeau of the senior class of 2018 were happy for the chance to raise money for their Project Graduation. “It’s a great opportunity for all the classes to fundraise in different ways,” said Thibodeau.

The Class of 2018 had a booth open selling food and drinks, and students also were running the Keystone Jail. Visitors could pay $10 to buy a warrant for someone’s arrest. The “Keystone Cops” would then collect them, and put them in an old fashion jail cell.  The “criminals” would have to stay for ten minutes, or pay bail to be released.

Piper Dionne gets her face painted at the Van Buren Summerfest at one of the fundraising booths, Saturday, August 4. (Elizabeth Theriault | SJVT/FhF)

The other classes of Van Buren High School had bake sales, pie-in-the-face throwing, face painting, games, and food.

“We like to do something fun that helps us raise money going into our freshman year,” said Abby Ayotte, president of the class of 2021. “We wanted to do something that everyone can participate in.”

The festival continued Sunday, with a parade down Main Street, a talent show, beer garden and food and craft vendors. The weekend concluded with a firework display at the Van Buren Boat Landing.  

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