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Houlton’s holiday craft fair draws big crowds to Gentle Memorial Building

HOULTON, Maine — The holidays were in full splendor with the 35th annual Holiday Craft Fair at the Gentle Memorial Building in Houlton Friday and Saturday, Nov. 23-24.

The recreation center has traditionally hosted the fair, which has grown steadily from a couple dozen vendors in its first year to more than 60 this year. What started out as multiple craft fairs in the Shiretown held at various churches around the Thanksgiving weekend merged into one all-inclusive event back in 1983.

To fill the spaces, according to Recreation Director Marie Carmichael, officials opened the event to any vendors who wanted to have a table, and from there the fair has grown steadily each year. Crafters pay a table fee to reserve space with the proceeds benefiting the recreation center’s youth programs.

Becky McLaughlin of Limestone was one of the many people who traveled to Houlton to check out the fair.

“It’s my second year coming down here,” she said. “It’s a little tradition I started with my cousin. We get together and come to the craft fair here in Houlton and usually get a few gift ideas.

For Dottie Martin of Fort Fairfield, Friday was the first time she had attended Houlton’s craft fair. Martin said she was amazed at the wide array of items on-hand.

“It really is a nice exhibit and a good variety of items,” Martin said.

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