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Two fall festivals filled downtown Houlton with art, music and much more

HOULTON, Maine – Downtown Houlton was the place to be Saturday as two overlapping festivals filled Market Square and Main Street with artistic creations, beautiful music and all of the latest harvest goodies.

The annual Harvest Festival, an offshoot of the Houlton Community Market, as well as the inaugural Downtown Art and Music Festival helped bring hundreds of people to Houlton’s Historic Downtown.

“The turnout was absolutely amazing,” said Jane Torres, executive director of the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce about the Harvest Festival. “We actually had to expand all the way to the end of Market Square because of the number of vendors. We had way more this year.”

Children’s activities were among the most popular attractions for both festivals. At the Harvest Festival, youngsters were able to try their luck at pumpkin tic-tac-toe and also received a complimentary pumpkin to either decorate with paint and glitter or take home as-is. 

Torres said there were about 130 pumpkins available for the children this year, which was slightly more than last year.

“The turnout was absolutely awesome, and the variety of harvest vegetables this year is amazing,” Torres added. 

The inaugural Downtown Art and Music Festival also proved to be a popular attraction, with organizers raising more than $3,000 for art scholarships. Dustin and Dani Hartnett, owners of UnContained Art at 84 Main St., came up with the concept to help students interested in pursuing careers in music or art.

Although public attendance was lighter than hoped, particularly as the day went on, the Hartnetts were extremely pleased with the final tally.

“That ($3,000) is better than we were thinking,” Dustin said Monday. “Could the turnout be bigger? Absolutely. But for a first-time event, thrown together in about five weeks, we are pleased.”

“I think it was probably too long of a day,” Dani added. “Plus, there was a homecoming dance happening that night. We have learned a lot from doing this. There were a lot of things that were supposed to be there that weren’t. We had some people who committed that didn’t show.”

The Hartnetts did have lots of help with organizing the event from local business owners Cheryl Lovely, Katie Sloat and Roxanne Bruce, among others. One of the most popular events was the half-mile Color Run held early in the day.

Torres said she welcomed the addition of the art and music festival, even though it overlapped with the Harvest Festival. “They asked if we minded that it was going on the same day and I feel the more things going on in town the better,” Torres said.

The Hartnetts are already working on ideas for next year and how they can improve the event. 

HOULTON, Maine — September 17, 2022 — An explosion of color erupts as participants in the color run toss their powder into the air Saturday morning. The fun run was part of the first Houlton Music and Art Festival on Main Street.  (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — September 17, 2022 — Simon Pritchard was one of many musical artists to lend his vocal and musical talents to downtown Houlton Saturday.  (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — September 17, 2022 — Ryland and Atley Shaw of Houlton use chalk to create artwork in Market Square Saturday morning as part of the annual Harvest Festival. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — September 17, 2022 — Rory Shaw of Houlton paints a pumpkin in Market Square Saturday morning as part of the annual Harvest Festival. A large crowd turned out for the popular event, which featured a variety of vendors. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — September 17, 2022 — Enza and Evelyn Mania of Houlton get their photo taken by their mother Katie at the Wright Farms exhibition in downtown Houlton Saturday morning. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — September 17, 2022 — Nicholas Foster (left) and Roz Morgan of the group Herding Unicorns perform on Main Street in Houlton Saturday afternoon as part of the inaugural Houlton Music and Art Festival. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — September 17, 2022 — Runners get sprayed with color at the start of a “Color Run” event as part of the Houlton Music and Art Festival. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — September 17, 2022 — Live Action Role Players from Shiretown Gaming conduct a “battle” Saturday afternoon as part of the Houlton Music and Art Festival. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

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