The Star-Herald

Families flock to Caribou for weekend of kid-friendly activities

CARIBOU, Maine — The newly expanded Caribou Cares About Kids festival gave local families plenty of reasons to spend quality time together.

From food vendors and carnival games to sports competitions, Teague Park was filled with youngsters eager for their last chance of summer fun before school starts. Parks and Recreation Superintendent Gary Marquis said that he and staff had already seen thousands of people by Saturday afternoon.

“We’ve seen far more people than last year,” Marquis said, while getting ready to kick off Saturday’s activities. “People have liked how much we have to offer.”

Carson Wells, 8, of Caribou passes the football during Caribou Cares About Kids. (Melissa Lizotte | Aroostook Republican)

While Caribou Cares About Kids has been a tradition for more than 30 years, this 2022 marks only the second time the events have taken place since the beginning of COVID-19. Last year Caribou Cares was held in conjunction with Caribou Days and did not feature a full four days of kid-themed activities like this year.

On Saturday, those activities included the annual parade, Aroostook County’s firemen’s muster, an inflatable bounce house, the Aroostook Football League’s punt, pass and kick competition and a double-bracket cornhole tournament.

Ten-year-old Jackson Belanger of Caribou (right) tosses the bag during the Caribou Cares About Kids cornhole tournament. (Melissa Lizotte | Aroostook Republican)

Caribou boys Kyden Haines, 10, and Jackson Belanger, 10, easily found themselves in the final round of the cornhole tournament and also showed off their skills in the football competitions.

“I think we’ll get a trophy,” Belanger said, before winning in the cornhole tournament with Haines.

The two friends attended Caribou Cares with friends Wesley and Everett Thomas, 10 and 8, respectively, their mother Paula Thomas and little sister Natalie Thomas, 3, who are from Woodland.

Caribou native Paula Thomas said that she and the family were enjoying the wider variety of activities at the rec center.

Eight-year-old Zoey Baker of Caribou kicks a football during Caribou Cares About Kids. (Melissa Lizotte | Aroostook Republican)

“There’s so much to do. Every day we’ve come we’ve ended up staying all day,” Paula Thomas said.

Kyle and Kasie Wells of Caribou arrived in time to see their sons Karson, 8, and Kaidyn, 7, try to step into the shoes of big brother Landyn Sterris, 11, who plays for Aroostook Football League.

The family was looking forward to checking out other Caribou Cares events, including the parade.

“It’s a nice way to hang out as a family,” Kyle Wells said.

Eleven-year-old Landyn Sterris of Caribou prepares to kick a football during Caribou Cares About Kids. (Melissa Lizotte | Aroostook Republican)

Hearing positive comments like that from families has convinced Caribou Parks and Recreation to continue making Caribou Cares the largest area festival of the summer.

“People love that we have all these new events, so we’re definitely doing it again next year,” Marquis said.

Five-year-old Connor Chartier of Caribou (right) gets ready to make a toss during the Caribou Cares About Kids cornhole tournament while Zoey Baker, 8, of Caribou looks on. (Melissa Lizotte | Aroostook Republican)

Get the Rest of the Story

Thank you for reading your 4 free articles this month. To continue reading, and support local, rural journalism, please subscribe.