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Houlton Fair caps off patriotic Fourth of July weekend

HOULTON, Maine — The Houlton Agricultural Fair came to an explosive finish Monday evening as an impressive fireworks display illuminated the night sky.

The three-day fair drew a steady crowd to Houlton’s Community Park as the largest groups turned out for popular attractions such as the demolition derby and mud runs at this year’s event. 

But it was the impressive fireworks display to close out the festivities, coupled with the fact that entry to the park was $10 per carload, that drew the largest crowd over the holiday weekend.

“We were very pleased with the crowds, considering this was a building year for us,” said Colby Dunn, president of the Houlton Fair Association. “Our numbers were low on the first day, which was expected. But things picked up Sunday and Monday.”

The fair group had to scramble to plug some holes when a couple of vendors backed out at the last minute, Dunn said. A few others had to cancel after their products were damaged during the heavy rains that soaked Midnight Madness Friday evening.

“We rolled with the punches as best we could,” Dunn said. “I think the vendors we did have were pleased with the support they received.”

The demolition derby proved to be the largest daytime draw as a couple thousand people lined the hills to watch cars of all shapes, sizes and colors smash into one another. But even that event was not immune to something odd happening. 

For the first time in at least 25 years, Dunn said the derby had to be halted midway when the Houlton Fire Department was called off to a fire. Fortunately, some members of Hodgdon’s volunteer fire department were on hand and offered their services to fill in.

A water tanker from Hodgdon was called in to help keep the dust down inside the derby area by watering the track.

“Seeing people in the community step up and help out like that is really what this event is all about,” Dunn said.

Plans have already begun for next year’s festival, he added. 

“I think this year’s fair gave us something to build on for next year,” Dunn said. “There was some negativity, but for the most part people were very supportive. We will take a few days off and then hit the reset button for next year.”

HOULTON, Maine — July 3, 2022 — A trio of tiny pigs race around a track Sunday afternoon as part of the Wee Wee Pigs event at the Houlton Agricultural Fair. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — July 3, 2022 — John Hespe of San Antonio, Texas reacts to having an egg break as he tries to catch it during the children’s egg toss event at the Houlton Agricultural Fair.  (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — July 3, 2022 — “Sideshow” Steve gets a helping hand with his juggling act from a member of the audience at the Houlton Agricultural Fair Sunday. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — July 3, 2022 — A row of quilts is on display inside the Millar Civic Center’s Exhibit Hall during the Houlton Agricultural Fair. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — July 3, 2022 — Rif-Raf, a member of the Anah Shrine Clowns, creates a balloon flower for a young girl at the Houlton Agricultural Fair Sunday afternoon. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

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