Families turn out for 4 days of fun and games in downtown Caribou

11 months ago

CARIBOU, Maine — For the thousands of people who attended throughout its four days, Caribou Cares About Kids did not disappoint.

The Thursday night kickoff on Bennett Drive featured a version of Thursdays on Sweden Street, with Yellow Brick Road: A Tribute to Elton John getting the crowd dancing and tapping their feet.

The weekend included an array of performances, from a juggling stuntman to exotic animals, and local food and craft vendors. Children flocked to Teague Park for many activities, including a karaoke contest, mini demolition derby, egg toss and sack races.

On Sunday, Malori Holmquist of Caribou watched with excitement as her son Dexter Holmquist, 6, got right back up after falling down in the sack race.

“This is our first time coming [to Caribou Cares About Kids],” Malori Holmquist said. “It’s a lot of fun for the kids.”

During the egg toss, 9-year-old Dani Getchell of Presque Isle shouted “It didn’t break!” after catching her egg early in the game. Though Getchell’s team lost, that did not stop her and the other kids from having fun.

Dani Getchell, 9, of Presque Isle, just barely catches her egg during an egg toss at Caribou Cares About Kids Sunday. (Melissa Lizotte | Aroostook Republican)

Moments like that are the reasons why Caribou Parks & Recreation Superintendent Gary Marquis, his staff and volunteers look forward to Caribou Cares About Kids.

This year brought more crowds than before the COVID-19 pandemic, with thousands of people showing up throughout the weekend, Marquis said. That included the annual parade, which featured more than 50 floats and crowds packed to the brim along Bennett Drive.

“It’s been phenomenal. We had so many people yesterday that three food vendors ran out of food,” Marquis said on Sunday. “The parade was the largest I’ve seen since Caribou’s sesquicentennial in 2009.”

Marquis and his crew are already planning next year’s Caribou Cares About Kids, set for July 25-28. They will collaborate with Cary Medical Center to celebrate the hospital’s 100th anniversary.