FORT KENT, Maine — Two Fort Kent institutions are combining their celebrations to create a massive fete this weekend which is expected to draw a huge crowd to the region.
The University of Maine at Fort Kent and the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce will combine their respective Homecoming and Scarecrow Festival celebrations into a large, communitywide event Sept. 16-19 in Fort Kent.
The four days of festivities feature many events, including a downtown street bazaar and the popular parade.
The university will kick off its homecoming celebration Thursday with a pep rally beginning at 7 p.m. on Crocker Beach. The event will include a bonfire and refreshments and will celebrate the reunion of returning alumni, current students, faculty, athletes, staff and friends. Campus tours also will be given Friday and Saturday.
The college’s Blake Library Gallery will have an exhibit of photographs by UMFK alumnus Darrell McBreairty titled “Allagash Summers: The Philip Calvin Hughey Sr. Photographs.” The photos were taken in the 1930s and 1940s in Allagash by the Rev. Philip Hughey Sr. The collection of photographs will be on display through Sept. 30.
A UMFK Alumni and Friends Social will begin at 6 p.m. Friday in the Nadeau Hall teleconference room and a performance by “Two Old Friends” will begin at 7 p.m. in Fox Auditorium.
Events on Saturday related to homecoming include campus tours, a 5K road race and UMFK men’s and women’s soccer games, as both teams take on competitors from the University of Maine at Machias.
A new event by UMFK this year is a Classic and Custom Car Show from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the parking lot area near the Old Model School, formerly called the Annex Building. The new event is free to the public. The car show will be an informal gathering of people who enjoy classic and customized vehicles.
An Alumni and Friends Banquet will be held at UMFK’s Nowland Hall on Saturday evening. A social hour begins at 6 p.m. with dinner at 7 p.m. Tickets for the banquet are $20 per person and are available through the alumni affairs office.
The events wind down Sunday with a brunch from 10:30 a.m. to noon at Nowland Hall. The cost of admission for the event is $6.55 per person. The public is encouraged to attend.
At the same time, the town’s annual Scarecrow Festival will be taking place.
Events kick off Friday with the annual Scarecrow Decorating Contest. Judging will take place noon to 3 p.m. Friday, Sept. 17. All Fort Kent area businesses are encouraged to decorate and have their scarecrows displayed outside no later than 11 a.m. Friday. Beginning at noon Friday, sidewalk vendors will set up along West Main Street selling food, specialty items, homemade goods and other items.
Bee Jay’s Tavern will feature a dance with music by Turning Point beginning at 9 p.m. Friday.
On Saturday, sidewalk vendors will set up again. The Come to Campus Days and Scarecrow Festival parade will begin at 11 a.m. The parade route will begin at the courthouse and run along Market Street and west on Main Street where it will cut into the Irving parking lot, follow Elm Street until it intersects with Main Street, follow up Monument Square and end at UMFK.
The Fort Kent Lions Club will have a ribbon-cutting and dedication of the newly built Lion’s Den Pavilion located at Riverside Park starting at 4 p.m. That event will be followed at 5 p.m. by a hot dog roast and at 6 p.m. by a golf ball drop, when about 1,000 of the balls will be dumped as part of a fundraising contest for the Lions. The Lions Club Band will perform at 7 p.m.
On Sunday, the Fort Kent Senior Club will hold its annual Scarecrow Festival dinner from 10:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
For information on UMFK homecoming events, contact the Alumni Affairs office at 834-7557. For information on Scarecrow Festival events, contact the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce at 834-5354.