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Maine Potato Blossom Festival continues with music, family fun

FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — The 71st annual Maine Potato Blossom Festival was in full swing on the evening of Wednesday, July 18, with events that included a fiddler group and a parade that was abound with pint-sized superheroes.

The nine-day festival kicked off on July 14 and has featured dozens of events that celebrate Fort Fairfield and the potato blossom season with food, games, music, pageants, sports competitions, parades and more.

Last year, an estimated 35,000 people attended the festival and this year’s festival director Meg Hegemann hopes to attract just as many visitors with both new and favorite activities.

One favorite among many return visitors was the July 18 performance from the Wednesday Evening Fiddlers at the bandstand near Main Street. Starting at 6 p.m., 25 musicians both young and old gave rousing performances of old-time tunes, with 8-year-old player Benjamin Chatier of Fort Fairfield stepping to the front of the stage early on for a solo of “The Road to Boston.”

The Wednesday Evening Fiddlers perform on July 18 during the Maine Potato Blossom Festival in Fort Fairfield.
(Staff Photo/Melissa Lizotte)

Over 60 community members parked their lawn chairs in front of the bandstand, clapping, dancing and singing along with the music, including Jerry and Priscilla Gallagher of Presque Isle.

“We usually come to the festival for the fiddlers and this year we’ll go to the parade on Saturday, too,” Jerry Gallagher said. “It’s a good way to bring people together to visit town this time of the year.”

Nancy McLaughlin of Fort Fairfield also enjoyed the fiddlers and had good things to say about the Potato Blossom Festival.

“The fiddlers’ concert is probably my favorite event during the festival,” McLaughlin said. “The entire week is great because there’s something for the whole family to enjoy.”

Not far from the bandstand, about a dozen toddlers and children donned their favorite superhero costumes, including Wonder Woman, Superman and Spiderman, and lined up on the sidewalk on bicycles and inside strollers and wagons. They paraded down Fields Lane to the walkway in front of the bandstand and back again, waving to the concert crowd and showing off their mighty superpowers for their hometown neighbors to see.

Participants were judged in three categories: Best Wagon or Stroller Decoration, Best Costume for ages 7 and under and Best Costume for age 8 and older. Two-year-old Cyrus Emery of Fort Fairfield won the Best Wagon/Stroller prize for his skyscraper-inspired Spiderman ride, Evan Conarro won Best Costume in the aged 7 and under category for dressing as an “Everyday Hero” SWAT officer, and Brenna Carlon won Best Costume in the age 8 and over category for playing Wonder Women.

Planned events for the remainder of the Potato Blossom Festival include a potato picking contest at Fort Fairfield High School on Thursday night at 5 p.m. and karaoke at the beer garden at 7:30 p.m., musical performances from Adam Nadeau and Star City Syndicate on Friday night and the much anticipated Potato Blossom Parade from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday. The parade will begin at the top of Presque Isle Street near the high school, travel north to Main Street and end at Forrest Avenue.

For a full schedule of events go to http://www.fortfairfield.org/festival.html.

Photos by Melissa Lizotte

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