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Annual craft fair draws nearly 2,000 to Fort Kent

FORT KENT, Maine — Close to 100 vendors set up shop inside the University of Maine at Fort Kent Sports Center to sell their goods to nearly 2,000 visitors over the weekend during the 38th annual Arts and Crafts Fair.

This is one of the largest craft fairs in Aroostook County, according to Dona Saucier, executive director of the.Greater Fort Kent Chamber of Commerce, which sponsored the event.

Close to 100 vendors catered to the shopping needs of nearly 2,000 people over the weekend during the 38th annual Arts and Crafts Fair at the University of Maine at Fort Kent Sport Center. (Morgan Mitchell | SJVT/FhF)

“It brings in people from all over the place,” Saucier said. “Which is also a great experience because while [out of town visitors] are here, they get a coupon book, they get discounts on restaurants, and can stop at one of the retail stores to take advantage of the specials while they are in Fort Kent.”

Saucier said the fair also brings together old friends “like a reunion.”

“People that come to this craft fair come here to meet with friends they haven’t seen in a long time, with family, they bump into old classmates…  so there’s a lot of socializing that happens,” the chamber director said.

One of the vendors, Julie Rayder, who owns Nutritious Skin, said she sold her homemade soaps to people who were not just shopping for themselves.

“I’ve gotten a lot of people here shopping for gifts because it is a great place to support local business,” she said.

Saucier said most of the vendors are small business owners who return year after year.

“We have some of these crafters that come here and it pays for their heating oil for the whole year,” Saucier said. “Others who are here, they are making their Christmas shopping money.”

Merriann Merriman attended the community event to Christmas shop and support local people who make homemade items.

“When you have the chance to visit something in the community, do it — it’s about the experience,” Merriman said.

Saucier said she also was thankful to the university for the use of the sport center that is “big enough” to hold the entire fair.

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