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Muskie Derby/Ploye Festival returns this weekend as Fort Kent continues to celebrate 150 years

FORT KENT, Maine — The Fort Kent International Muskie Derby and the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce Ploye Festival will return this weekend as the town of Fort Kent continues to celebrate its 150th anniversary. 

The annual Fort Kent International Muskie Fishing Derby, with a possible $35,000 purse, will take place Friday, Aug. 9, until Sunday, Aug. 11.

The St John River and all tributaries of the river are open to fishing during the derby.

Jason Cyr of Madawaska won the Fort Kent International Muskie Derby with this monster he caught on the St. John River in 2018. (Jason Cyr)

The derby begins at 9 a.m. Friday and the scales will be open until 5 p.m. on Sunday. There is a minimum 38-inch length requirement for muskies entered in the contest. The competition also includes a category for biggest bass, as well as a special category for youth anglers.

The Fort Kent Rotary Club will sell lobster rolls and strawberry shortcake on Friday and Saturday from 10:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. and Sunday from 10:30 p.m. until 5 p.m. in a tent outside S.W. Collins on Main Street, right across from a weigh station at UP North Outdoors. 

The Muskie Derby awards ceremony will take place at 6 p.m. or shortly thereafter on Sunday at UP North Outdoors. 

Registration for the Muskie Derby is $40 for adults and $20 for children 16 and under. Registration forms are available online and at S.W. Collins Outdoors in Fort Kent. https://www.fortkent-muskie.com/fkmuskweb18_002.htm

The chamber will host a craft fair on Friday from noon until 7:30 p.m. followed by a children’s ploye eating contest at 5:30 p.m. At 6 p.m. Bouchard’s Country Store will cook the world’s largest ploye, after which the Lion’s Club will host its annual Golf Ball Drop.

Also on Friday from 5 until 10 p.m. there will be a beer garden with a full cash bar at the Lion’s Pavilion hosted by Sodexo. BoomerAng will perform live from 8 until 10 p.m. at the Pavilion.

A “Come Home to Celebrate Our Heritage 150th Anniversary Parade” will take place in downtown Fort Kent on Saturday beginning at 10 a.m. at the Fort Kent Courthouse. 

Tractor pulls will take place at noon on Saturday in the field behind Twin’s Service Station, and from 1 until 5 p.m. that day Valley Motors will host an antique car show.

The Aroostook County Firefighters Skills Competition will take place on Main Street on Saturday from 1 until 4 p.m.

There will be food vendors on Main Street throughout the day.

Boomerang will perform again 7-10 p.m. on Saturday on Main Street. There will be a fireworks display after dark on Saturday near the International Bridge. 

A free brochure containing a schedule of events for the Fort Kent 150th Anniversary Celebration, which will include a parade, street dance and fireworks, is available at the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce office, at the Fort Kent Town Office and at various local retailers. 

For information about the Fort Kent 150th Anniversary Celebration, visit the Fort Kent 150 Years Facebook page.

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