St. John Valley

Craft fair and Christmas tree lighting bring folks together in Fort Kent

FORT KENT, Maine — Simone Houle of Madison said she sold plenty of her homemade jewelry at the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce 39th annual Arts and Crafts Fair this past weekend. 

“But then again I spent a lot of money on the other crafters too,” she joked.

The former French teacher said she and her sister, Claudette Long of Martha’s Vineyard, are regular vendors at the fair. Long creates homemade scarves. 

The sisters, whose maiden name is Dube, grew up in Fort Kent and enjoy visiting with friends in the area as much as they do sharing their talents at the craft fair.

“I couldn’t have retired from teaching without a hobby,” Houle said of her jewelry-making art. 

They also like to reminisce about life growing up in their hometown. 

“It was really nice growing up here,” Houle said.

“Yeah, we miss it,” Long added. 

Houle and Long were among nearly 120 talented crafters of all ages who participated in the fair. 

Among the younger crafters was 15-year-old Connor Pelletier of St. Francis.

Pelletier is owner of Connor’s Craft Shack and makes homemade wooden signs and other crafts for customers. 

The young entrepreneur, who also makes custom orders, began crafting at the age of 10.

“My mom used to make stuff and it kind of just took off from there,” he said of his crafting business. “I just love doing it. It’s so much fun.”

Another young crafter at the fair was Emma Landry, also 15. The Fort Kent Community High School sophomore sold homemade candied apples and jewelry to raise funds for a school trip she plans to take to Costa Rica in 2021. 

Chamber executive director Dona Saucier said the craft fair brought in more than 2,000 people over the weekend, with 1,362 attending on Saturday, breaking the fair’s single-day attendance record. 

“Next year will be the 40th year that this craft fair has been held in Fort Kent,” Saucier said. “We

Children perched on a snowbank admired the newly lit Fort Kent Christmas tree on Saturday, Nov. 30. Courtesy

are looking forward to having another great show to celebrate this milestone event.  Without our sponsors, vendors, patrons and those who volunteer their time to help with any aspect of this event, this craft fair would not be as big a success as it is now. We also would have not made it through 39 years without that kind of support.”

The craft fair was not the only festive event to bring people together in Fort Kent over the weekend.

On Saturday evening, the chamber, in conjunction with the Fort Kent Lions Club, sponsored the annual lighting of the town Christmas tree.

“Mr. and Mrs. Claus always love coming to see our beautiful tree and families,” said

Lion’s Club president Kris Malmborg, who has chaired the Christmas tree lighting for 10 years. 

Roughly 200 community members attended the tree lighting.

“Even the unseasonable chills didn’t dampen their fun,” Malmborg said.  

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