Houlton Harvest Fest returns with loads of pumpkin fun on Saturday

9 months ago

HOULTON, Maine — The Houlton Harvest Festival, postponed last week because of Hurricane Lee, is back on for this Saturday in downtown Houlton. 

The annual festival celebrates the area’s produce and products. Over the years it has taken on a life of its own, drawing families and children to the event, said Jane Torres, executive director of the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce. 

The first year, about seven or eight years ago, they had 100 pumpkins for kids to decorate. Now the chamber puts up big long tables for the kids to paint and decorate with glitter over twice that many, Torres said.

The pumpkins are donated for the kids by the market vendors. 

Houlton’s festival, in the heart of the state’s agricultural county, highlights the season’s fruits and vegetables while also marking the beginning of fall foliage season with artisans and craft vendors, the farmers market, food, live music, pumpkin painting and kids’ activities in Market Square.

The road on the Temple Theater side from Key Bank to the Commons will be closed for the festival.

Multi-colored pumpkins from Wright Farm in Littleton. (Courtesy of Nancy Wright)

Littleton’s Wright Farm, noted for its white, jade, orange, pink and blue pumpkins, is a big attraction at the Harvest Fest, said Torres. 

“She brings Cinderella Pumpkins and cutouts for the kids to stick their heads in for photos,” she said.

Nancy Wright said she grows the pumpkins with her grandchildren Ryan and Reagan Wright. And most years they have plenty for six trips to market and to donate to the Chamber and others.

But all the rain this summer affected how many pumpkins they have to harvest, she said.

“We planted on June 18 and it started raining that night and rained every day for eight days,” she said. “The rain slows it down.”

Still, the Wrights will be at the Harvest Festival with their multi-colored pumpkins.

“The Harvest Festival is so much fun,” Wright said. 

The Harvest Festival runs from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Sept. 23 in Market Square.