Shiretown gearing up for July 4th festivities

3 years ago

HOULTON, Maine — After COVID-19 canceled last year’s annual Fourth of July and Midnight Madness celebrations, organizers of both events are determined to put on a good showing this weekend.

Midnight Madness, sponsored by the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce, takes place Friday, July 2, with a busy evening of activities that include plenty of food, fun, music and fireworks.

“People really need to get out and somewhat back to normal,” Jane Torres, executive director for the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce, said. “We have over 50 vendors [for Midnight Madness] and we will spread people out to include parts of Court and Water streets.”

Among the many food items offered are lobster rolls, french fries, and a chicken and sausage barbecue.

On Saturday, July 3, events shift to Houlton’s Monument Park for a large craft fair and Houlton Community Park for the two-day Houlton Agricultural Fair. Houlton traditionally has held its fair over the Fourth of July holiday dating back to 1981. It became a fair in 1984 and was licensed as a state fair in 1986.

“We are going back to the basics,” Fair President Nick Crane said. “When we started planning for the fair, there were still all of the [COVID-19] restrictions. We only had about a month and a half to pull this all together.”

While fair organizers were able to come up with two days worth of activities, one popular attraction that has been a mainstay will not be appearing this year as officials were unable to secure a midway.

“We couldn’t get a carnival because a lot of other fairs canceled this year,” Crane said. “That threw their scheduled circuit off. We are just trying to make the best of what we can and build toward next year’s fair.”

Some carnival games will still be offered, as will numerous food vendors. The focus will be on livestock, children’s activities, music from local bands, antique tractor pulls and the demolition derby.

There will be a $10 per person fee to enter Houlton Community Park for the fair on Saturday and $5 for Sunday. Advanced tickets of $10 for both days are also available.

A parade will be held Sunday, July 4, starting at noon at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. Fireworks will be launched from Houlton Community Park Sunday, July 4, to close out the celebration. For a full schedule of the fair, visit: