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Fair, Midnight Madness celebrations kick off busy week of activities

HOULTON, Maine — The official start to Houlton’s annual Fourth of July celebration begins Friday with Midnight Madness and continues Saturday through Wednesday at Houlton Community Park as part of the Houlton Agricultural Fair.

On Friday, the streets of downtown Houlton will groove to the sweet sounds of the 1970s as part of the 32nd annual Midnight Madness celebration. The event will once again provide plenty of free entertainment for families as folks from around the region pour into Market Square, downtown Main Street and Monument Park for free concerts and shows, food and fireworks.

The event has drawn as many as 6,000 people to the downtown during the course of the evening. Originally designed as a sales event, with local shops offering discounts that rose as the night wore on, Midnight Madness has evolved into more of a street fair, featuring free live entertainment and food vendors. The atmosphere of the evening is always one of homecoming, capturing the excitement of the Fourth of July holiday and reunions.

“We have more than 40 vendors signed up for Midnight Madness,” said Jane Torres, executive director of the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce. “We have everything from face painting to food to groups selling raffle tickets.”

Torres said tasty food choices will again be one of the bigger draws to downtown, starting with the Chamber’s famous “Strawberry Shortcake” booth from noon to 2 p.m. In addition, TNT Takeout, a new food truck service located behind Sadie’s Bakery, will officially open for business. Sadie’s Bakery will once again offer its popular doughboys.

“It’s always exciting to have someone new join us,” Torres said.

Tim “The Tuneman” Humphrey will kick off the event in Market Square, where he will encourage children — and willing adults — to limbo and hula hoop for prizes from 5-6:30 p.m.

The LP Miracle Mile Road Race, McKenna and Maggie Race for a Cure, begins at 6 p.m., with the finish line near the intersection of Main and Court streets.

At 6:30 p.m. a line dancing exhibition will take place, followed by McGill’s Community Band at the Houlton Amphitheatre in Monument Park from 7-8 p.m. After that, “Circus Cam” Cameron Clark will showcase his juggling and unicycle skills from 8-8:30 p.m., followed by the popular musical group “Ted and the Boys” performing from 8:30-10:30 p.m., taking a break at about 9:30 p.m. for everyone to enjoy the fireworks over the Gateway Crossing bridge.

For more information on Midnight Madness, call the chamber at 532-4216

Starting Saturday, the focus shifts to Houlton Community Park for five days of fair events as part of the 2018 Houlton Agricultural Fair.

Fair President Paul Cleary, who is entering his 10th season as president and 18th overall with the board, said this year’s fair is shaping up to be an exciting time for residents and guests for five days of fun-filled activities.

The popular demolition derby event highlights the events of the first day, Saturday, June 30. The derby typically draws about 3,000 people and is one of the largest demolition events in recent years.

People can also expect to see more new items at this year’s fair.

“We have more vendors than we have ever had,” he said. “And the interest in the John Anderson concert has been incredible.”

Tickets for that show, which is slated for 8 p.m. Sunday, July 1, are included in the $10 admission to the fair that day.  On Tuesday, July 3, admission to the fair will be just $3.

Midway rides are not included with the price of admission. Ride bracelets can be purchased for $17. Last year, the fair separated its cost of admission and rides, after hearing from many people that they wanted to come in to the fair, but had no plans to ride on the midway.

Other new events are the FMX Motorcycle Show; Michael Blaine, master hypnotist; a children’s ninja course competition; a performance from Houlton native Wyatt Jenkins; and concert by the 195th Maine Army National Guard Band.

A full schedule of events can be found at www.houltonfair.org.

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