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Muskie Derby and Ploye Festival return to Fort Kent Aug. 10-12

FORT KENT, Maine — Ambitious anglers, ploye enthusiasts, and anyone who enjoys outdoor fun will find entertainment if they look for it during the Fort Kent International Muskie Derby and Ploye Festival which returns to the area Friday through Sunday, Aug. 10-12.

The Muskie Derby offers up to $35,000 in total prize money to those who manage to reel in the biggest fish. Tournament waters include the St. John River west of Grand Falls and all of its tributaries. There is a minimum 38-inch length requirement for muskies entered in the contest.

Last year’s champion, Chuck Cabaniss of Connecticut outdid that by quite a bit when he caught his 45 ⅞-inch winning muskie using stickbait in Grand Isle.

Fishers can register for this year’s  Muskie Derby until 11 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, online at The price is $40 per person or $20 for those under the age of 16 years-old.

The Muskie Derby weigh station/Muskie Central will be open at the Up North Outdoors parking lot in Fort Kent on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m and Sunday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m., with the awards ceremony held there on Sunday at 6 p.m.

The Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce will host the annual Fort Kent Ploye Festival in conjunction with the muskie derby this weekend. This will include a ploye eating contest for those ages 18 and under from 5:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday at the Lions Pavilion.

The Lion’s Club members actually kick things off with a pre-festival event on Thursday with their annual chicken BBQ from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. at Riverside Park. Proceeds will benefit the Fort Kent Boy Scouts.

On Friday at 6 p.m. at the Lion’s Pavilion, Bouchard Family Farms will create a giant 12 foot ploye, which they deem as “the world’s largest ploye.”

The chamber also will host the annual Craft and Vendor Fair at Riverside Park from noon until 7:30 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 10.

Other food and entertainment available during the weekend will include a Rotary Club food court 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., outside S.W. Collins across from the  muskie weigh station. Rotarians will sell lobster rolls, hot dogs and strawberry shortcake.

The Fort Kent Public Library will sell food and books 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at its Main Street entrance as a fundraiser for that facility.

The St. John Vianney Youth Ministry Garage Sale will be held 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday in the St. Louis Catholic Church lot.

Martin Klein American Legion members are hosting their own food court with hot dogs, baked beans, ployes, and doughboys, among other items, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The Legion Hall also will host a free, family friendly karaoke event from 6 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Friday.

Members of Fort Kent Masonic Lodge 209 will host their Second Annual Lobster Feed 4:30-6:30 at Riverside Park on Aug. 11.

The River Ukes Ukulele Band will perform from 4- 6 p.m. on Friday at the Lions Pavilion. The band GPS will play at the Riverside Park gazebo from 6:30 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Friday.

Walker’s Pub will have a Muskie Derby Beer Garden on Friday with live music by Kornerstone. The party will include a 24-foot outdoor bar from 8 p.m. until 11 p.m.

The Muskie Derby will include a sunset fireworks display on Friday at dusk (roughly 9 p.m.) which will be shot from Clair, New Brunswick, over the St. John River. In the event of rain, the fireworks will instead be launched on Saturday evening.
For a complete schedule of events, visit the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce website.

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