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Fort Kent pulls together for historic 150th birthday celebration

FORT KENT, Maine — The town of Fort Kent made history, yet again, while celebrating the history of its 150th yeas as a town as hundreds of volunteers and thousands of spectators turned out to events during a week-long celebration Aug, 4-10.

Fort Kent was incorporated as a town in 1869. 

A parade with more than 100 entries and which was more than 2.5 miles long summed up the spirit of the “Little Town That Could” on Saturday morning.

“The vast array of participants, large and small, to us made our parade feel like one that could rival the Macy’s Parade,” said  Fort Kent 150 Years Committee Chairman Kris Malmborg, who was one of a group of about 20 volunteers who initially came together last winter to plan the celebration. 

“I feel the utmost pride in my community and how well everyone and all our events came together,” Malmborg said. “Participation in events exceeded my expectations, and many of the events were received so well that community members have asked that they return in the years to come.” 

Events included everything from a watermelon eating contest to a classic auto show, street dances, and a fireworks extravaganza over the International Bridge.

The celebration also nearly included hot air balloon rides, although those were nixed due to weather.

“Friday night we were graced with the presence of “Tracer”–  the beautiful, multi colored hot air balloon owned by Wendell Purvis of Fort Lauderdale Florida,” Malmborg said. “Just as quickly as the balloon was filled, it  was deflated and put away as a thunder and lightning storm came through. This did not dampen spirits and Wendell said he would look forward to coming back next year for tethered rides.”

“Main Street Saturday was a spectacle that will be spoken about for years to come,” Malmborg said. “I didn’t recognize half the people I saw, and when talking with them, they advised they were either visiting because theyhad heard about the event,  or returned to their hometown after having been gone for years.” 

“The games on Main Street brought a feeling of family and community that I’ve not seen in years. These games were put on by local businesses and the Fort Kent Chamber,” Malmborg added. “I’m proud to call myself a member of this great community.”

Town manager Suzie Paradis said she was also pleased with the support of the community during the 150 Years Celebration.  

“Thank you to all who volunteered, supported and attended the wee long events,” Paradis said. “The Little Town that Could certainly made history this week and we are looking forward to making the next 50 years just as historic.”

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