Crowds pack Potato Feast Days in Houlton

8 months ago

HOULTON, Maine — Friday night rain did not keep Mainers from enjoying hundreds of lobsters at Houlton’s Potato Feast Days.

“We sold out,” said Jane Torres, executive director of the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce, the event organizer. 

Even the candy drop was a hit as kids scrambled in the rain to capture paper bags filled with candy treats, she said, adding that they had fun despite a downpour.

This weekend’s 64th annual Potato Feast Days included a lobster feast on Friday night and a baked potato bar, chicken barbecue, pie and ice cream social, and craft fair on Saturday. 

Each year, the August festival marks the transition from summer into a new school year and the upcoming September potato harvest. Torres said what makes the weekend great is the tradition of celebrating The County’s agricultural heritage.

Friday’s lobster feast sold all 245 lobsters from Cantrell’s Seafood, a fish truck that comes from the coast to Aroostook County every Friday, said Torres. 

Volunteer Amelia Macatee kept smiling despite growing lines at the Houlton Potato Feast Days baked potato bar on Saturday in Market Square in Houlton.  (Kathleen Phalen Tomaselli | Houlton Pioneer Times)

The entire feast, which included a 1 to 1.25 pound lobster, corn, baked potato, Houlton Farms Dairy butter and homemade cookies, was cooked by Torres and several volunteers. That meant on Thursday night, they were scrubbing clean hundreds of potatoes for the two-day event. 

Saturday’s weather was sunny and the events were packed, with long lines for the baked potato. Word of mouth about the potatoes led to even longer lines that snaked down through Market Square by mid-morning. The loaded potatoes packed with Houlton Dairy Farms butter, chili, sour cream and cheese were sold out by 11:15 a.m., according to Torres.

“I made a note that we need to double the number for next year,” she said.  

Musician Simon Pritchard was the Potato Feast Days entertainment on Saturday in Houlton. (Kathleen Phalen Tomaselli | Houlton Pioneer Times)

The historic Doll and Wagon Wrangler Parade was also on Friday night, but smaller than last year because of the rain. 

Torres and 18 volunteers prepared and worked the two-day event, and profits go toward supporting the chamber’s other 14 annual events, Torres said.