Peanut Carnival to make return after 2-year hiatus

HOULTON, Maine — The Houlton Parks and Recreation Department will hold its end of summer camp festival, more commonly known as the Peanut Carnival, after a two-year haitus.

The announcement is further proof that things are slowly getting back to normal after two years of COVID-19 cancellations and postponements of traditional events in the Shiretown. This year’s carnival is scheduled for 6-7:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 4.

“The kids are really excited about it,” said Marie Carmichael, recreation director. “For some of them, they have never had a chance to experience the peanut carnival.”

For decades, the Houlton Recreation Department has closed out its “Just For Kids” summer program with the popular carnival. Participants purchase a bag of peanuts, which are then used as payment to play a variety of kid-friendly games.

Carmichael said it was refreshing to be able to host the event after a two-year break because of COVID-19. Participation in the summer camp program has also seen an increase.

“We have really had a great summer,” she said. “Last year we limited the number to 125 kids, but this year we were able to expand it to 150 because we felt we could handle the workload a bit better.”

A parade will take place at 10 a.m. Tuesday, Aug. 2, starting at the Recreation Center and making its way through downtown Houlton. This children’s parade will feature floats, walkers, bikers and plenty of peanuts being tossed to those watching. It will also feature all eight candidates vying for the coveted title of “Peanut King and Queen.”

The Peanut Carnival takes place outdoors at the tennis courts in front of the Gentle Memorial Building. More than 40 games will be set up for families to play and cost nothing but peanuts. In the event of rain, the games will move inside the Gentle Memorial Building.

The highlight will be the coronation of the Peanut King and Queen, slated for 8 p.m. inside the Gentle Memorial Building.

This year’s candidates are Owen Corson and Aspen Gallop, ages 5-6; Silas Goodwin and Avery McPhee, ages 7-8; Toryn Bettencourt and Emma O’Donnell, ages 9-10; and Colton Sylvain and Lillien Robinson, ages 11-13.

This family event is free and open to the public. For information, call the Rec Center at 532-1310.

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