Potato Blossom Festival to get statewide recognition on TV show

1 month ago

Fort Fairfield’s annual Maine Potato Blossom Festival will be featured on an episode of the television program “MaineLife,” festival director Cheryl Boulier told the town council on June 12.

This year’s festival is slated July 13-21.

The festival takes place around the time potato blossoms bloom and brings thousands to Fort Fairfield for class and family reunions, celebrations of Aroostook’s agricultural heritage and numerous events like the festival parade, often hailed as one of the state’s largest parades. Boulier has directed the festival for six years. This year the town, and its signature event, will get a boost of recognition thanks to the statewide program, she said. 

“We were chosen by the Maine Office of Tourism to help promote The County and all it offers, and they felt the festival topped the list of events that stand out in showcasing a more rural way of life and its benefits,” Boulier said. “It’s an exciting opportunity for us.”

Maine Life Media of Portland will send a film crew to Fort Fairfield for festival week, she said. They will interview several people, film some of the events and also capture video of the countryside. 

When the episode will air is not yet known. “MaineLife” visits places around the state, spotlighting local people and positive stories, according to the show’s website.

The expenses of putting the event together are considerable and are rising along with everything else, Boulier said. Last year expenses were $48,000, with an income of $53,000.

She suggested transitioning the festival to a nonprofit status, so any money left over could be used as seed money for the following year. Having that reserve is vital to the week’s success, she said.  

Presque Isle Elks Lodge 1954 board member Alan Harding, chair of the lodge’s drug awareness program and past exalted ruler, presented the Elks’ Enrique Camarena Award to Fort Fairfield Police Chief Matthew Cummings.

FORT FAIRFIELD, Maine — August 27, 2021 — Matthew Cummings, Fort Fairfield’s new police chief, is looking to expand the department’s staff and community outreach. (Melissa Lizotte | The Star Herald)

Camarena was a firefighter, criminal investigator and narcotics officer who was kidnapped, brutally tortured and then murdered in Mexico in 1985. The Elks present the Camarena Award annually to a law enforcement officer who represents the qualities for which Camarena gave his life, Harding said.

“Your chief, Matthew Cummings, is the recipient of the Camarena Award this year for the entire state of Maine as a result of his efforts to make this a drug free community,” Harding said. “His efforts have gone above and beyond the responsibilities of his office, and have led to results that demonstrate that one person can truly make a difference.”

Harding and Anthony Gause, past president of the Maine Elks Association and chair of the state association’s drug awareness program, presented the award to Cummings. 

In other business, Town Manager Tim Goff said town leaders recently visited several blighted areas and are forming a plan to help people comply with violations, he said.

“The same freedoms you enjoy on your property are the same ones that keep people being able to do the same things that they do,” he said. “But we are paying attention, we are listening, and hopefully moving toward more compliance.”