Fiddlehead Festival will be held in Presque Isle May 17-18

2 months ago

Presque Isle will honor a rite of spring with its fourth annual Fiddlehead Festival starting next Friday evening.

Sponsored by the Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce, the event will be based at the Northern Maine Fairgrounds. The two-day event includes the popular Aroostook River Fun Run, which boasts a river race, 5K run/walk and a bicycle ride. 

Fiddlehead picking time marks spring in Aroostook County, and the baby ostrich ferns are a delicacy much sought-after by fans. Foragers hunt river and stream banks, roadside vendors sell them and restaurants serve them fried, boiled and even on pizza. The County’s Fiddlehead Festival plans a celebration with activities for all ages.

Events will start Friday evening, May 17, with local businesses offering fiddlehead-themed food and shopping specials from 5 to 8 p.m. 

The Caribou, Presque Isle and Washburn Rotary clubs will co-sponsor the Aroostook River Fun Run, which is collaborating with the festival this year, said Presque Isle Rotary President Jordyn Madore. 

“We are thankful for the Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce for being so easy to partner with,” Madore said. “We are now able to offer a true post-event celebration complete with food, music, activities and vendors for our event participants.”

The event features safer routes and will let participants be close to the main events, she said. The clubs will also host free children’s games and family friendly activities at the fairgrounds from 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Each leg of the run starts at 10 a.m. Paddlers will launch from Thomas Brewer Park in Washburn and race down the Aroostook River on a 10-mile course to the Presque Isle boat landing on the Reach Road.

Runners and walkers will take off from the fairgrounds and head for the University of Maine at Presque Isle’s sun installation in front of Preble Hall and back to the beginning. 

Cyclists can choose either a 16-mile ride along the Parsons Road and back to the fairgrounds, or a 23-mile ride along the river and back. The bicycle portion is untimed and is not a race, Madore said.

Registration is $10 and all proceeds benefit the three Rotary clubs’ community programs.

A full day of events is planned Saturday, May 18, starting with opening day of the Presque Isle Farmers Market from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Riverside Park Pavilion.

Fairground activities will start with a craft and vendor fair from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at The Forum. A food court and beer garden will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

Activities will include a paint-and-sip arts session from 10 a.m. to noon, wine tasting from 1 to 3 p.m. and an art battle, also from 1 to 3 p.m., where local artists will create pieces within a time limit. The artists’ work will be sold at a live auction.

The festivities will wrap up with music Saturday evening with the Wednesday Evening Fiddlers from 4 to 5 p.m., followed by The County Folk, who will perform from 5:30 to 8:30.

For information about the Fun Run, visit www.presqueislerotary.org/riverrun. For festival information, visit centralaroostookchamber.com. Both events can also be found on Facebook.