Scorching weather didn’t stop Thursdays on Sweden
CARIBOU, Maine — Hundreds came out for Caribou’s July 5 Thursdays on Sweden street festival in spite of oppressively hot and humid weather.
The Adam Ezra Group of Boston kept the music going while guests and vendors lined a closed off portion of the street, and both kids and adults alike cooled off under a fire truck spraying down water from a ladder raised high above the vehicle.
“That’s our homemade sprinkler,” said Caribou Marketing and Events Coordinator Christina Kane-Gibson. “It’s the second time the fire department has done this, and we had them come out tonight because we knew it was going to be hot.”
Leading up to the July 5 event, Kane-Gibson said she was apprehensive about the unusually high temperatures that reached into the 90s, but that all the vendors came out.
“It’s starting to cool down a little,” she said about 45 minutes into the event, “and it looks like the crowd is picking up.”
Landing one day after Independence Day, this Thursday’s theme was “Made in the USA,” and any guests dressed in patriotic clothing could receive a coconut slice or sugar stick from the Caribou booth. She chose not to give out chocolate as it would likely melt in a matter of minutes.
Out of everyone at the festival, Kane-Gibson said that members of the Maine Veterans Home in Caribou “did the best” in dressing up and presenting a patriotic theme.
Maine Veterans Home Wellness Coordinator Wynne Freeman said this is the organization’s second week at Thursdays, and that all proceeds from the sale of hot dogs, chips, and sodas would benefit the home’s memory care unit, which focuses on individuals suffering from Alzheimer’s.
“All the proceeds stay right in Caribou,” she said. “It doesn’t go anywhere else.”
Freeman said the veterans home did “really well” last week, but that the crowd was not as large this time around, likely due to the weather.
“It’s a little slow now, probably because it’s so hot, but it will probably start to pick up,” she said. “We enjoy doing it; we care for those who served, and that’s why we’re here.”
To deal with the heat, Freeman said she and the other six representatives manning the booth stood under the fire truck to cool off.
While the firefighter’s truck was cooling people off, firefighters themselves teamed up with policemen and masons and stood next to a scorching grill preparing burgers, hot dogs, and fries for guests. Caribou’s fire and police departments have joined forces for nearly every Thursday’s event under the name “Guns and Hoses,” with the profits from every cookout benefitting a local group or organization.
“Tonight we’re collaborating with the Masons,” said Caribou Police Chief Michael Gahagan. “Any profits we make will go to the Bread of Life soup kitchen,” located in Caribou.
The chief said they typically bing in 100 hot dogs, 200 hamburgers, and 400 pounds of “fresh cut french fries.”
“We usually run out by the end of the night,” he said, adding that it’s better to run out than to “have too much on hand,” ensuring that all the food is fresh and nothing goes to waste.
Scores of people sat down at tables next to the smoking grills and enjoyed their meals, in spite of the heat, as children and adults alike walked along the street and enjoyed food, games, crafts, and art from folks behind booths.
“It’s a summer day in Maine,” said Kane-Gibson, “and we’re making the best of it.”