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Rally in the Valley continues to draw young bicyclists

FORT KENT, Maine — Despite chilly winds, families brought their bicycles and enthusiasm for outdoor fun to the sixth annual Rally in the Valley Mountain Bike Festival held at the Fort Kent Outdoor Center on June 2.

Northern Maine Medical Center sponsors Rally in the Valley in partnership with the outdoor center to encourage the healthy activity of bicycling among children.

Brad and Aimee Holabird’s two children, Liam and Evelyn, cruised the FKOC as their parents smiled and encouraged them along two tracks, one for young riders, and one for more experienced riders.

The Fort Kent family has participated in Rally in the Valley for the past three years.

“We are regulars; we look forward to it every year,” Brad Holabird said.

He added that this was the first year that Evelyn, 3, rode her own bicycle during the event. In the past, her parents would pull Evelyn on a riding rocking horse so that she could enjoy the fun.

Liam, 11, enjoyed the more advanced mountain bike course this year, his father said.

“Physical activity is more important than ever these.days with the.other distractions of the world,” Brad Holabird said. “Also, northern Maine gets a bad rap for its geographical challenges, but in the end, it is all what you.make of it, and northern Maine has a great foundation of outdoor recreation and that needs to be passed along to the next generation.”

This year’s inception of Rally in the Valley included 42 participants from ages 2 to 14, according to event organizer Courtney Deprey.

“They came from all over the Valley — Fort Kent, Sinclair, Winterville, Madawaska and New Canada,” Deprey said.

As is the case, each year, NMMC sponsors a free bicycle for one lucky Rally in the Valley participant.

This year, the winner of the free bicycle was Weston Marquis of Fort Kent, son of Chad and Nicole Marquis.

Deprey said that the annual event could not take place without the many people who volunteer their time to make Rally in the Valley a success.

“It’s all run by volunteers, so we could not accomplish this without them,” she said. “We had volunteers from SAD 27, Daigle Oil Company, Fort Kent Outdoor Center, Madawaska School District and Northern Maine Medical Center.”

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