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Hundreds come out to kick off Caribou Days celebration

CARIBOU, Maine — Hundreds came out on Thursday to enjoy the music of Star City Syndicate, eat barbeque from police and firefighters (who teamed up as “Guns and Hoses”), and even cool off under a fire truck ladder spraying water in a lot next to the post office.

The Thursdays on Sweden street festival also served to kick off the Caribou Days celebration.

Shayne Stevens, 27, of Limestone said it was his first time attending Thursdays on Sweden, and that he plans on returning for future festivities.

“I tried to come out a couple times with my family,” he said, “but we never really made it out. I came tonight and I’m really enjoying it so far. It’s really nice.”

Stevens added that he “absolutely loved the band,” and that various vendors lined up were “offering great things.”

“Come on out to Sweden Street on Thursday,” he concluded.

This Aug. 2 event had a Caribou Days and emoji theme, to coincide with a screening of The Emoji Movie on Friday night following the parade.

Caribou Marketing and Events Coordinator Christina Kane-Gibson said she was excited about the turnout and prepared for the next two days of “Caribou Days,” which were set to include games and activities at the Wellness and Recreation Center in addition to a Friday parade.

“There’s a really good crowd,” she said, “people may have been a bit wary of the weather earlier today, but we made our own rain,” referring to the Caribou Fire and Ambulance Department’s spraying of some visitors.

Kane-Gibson said this is the second time the fire department has allowed guests to cool off under the rain of their ladder truck, the first time being on July 5 when the city experienced record breaking temperatures.

“It was about relief [on July 5],” she said, “but tonight it’s more about having fun. Caribou’s fire and police departments are huge supporters of Thursdays on Sweden.”

Kane-Gibson has been Caribou’s Marketing and Events Coordinator for a year and a half, and complemented city employees for coming together for Thursdays and Caribou Days. In terms of planning, she said that even when trying to keep an event simple, her perfectionist tendencies will shine through at the last minute, inspiring her to add more features.

As far as community feedback, residents are given a chance to fill out a survey after the final Thursdays event of the year in September. Kane-Gibson said that last year, 95 percent of the responses were positive, with some responders asking for more portable toilets, a request that did not go unanswered this year.

“It makes for a long week,” she said, “but we do it because we love it. This is awesome, and it’s one of the best things we could do for the community.”

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