HOULTON, Maine — When she was growing up in Limestone, Jessica Theriault spent every Fourth of July at the Houlton Agricultural Fair.
“My brothers and I would spend all day here, riding the rides, and playing the games,” she said Monday. “My parents would let us eat anything we wanted, and even though my mother doesn’t like farm animals, she’d come with me when I petted all the sheep and the goats and things.”
A few decades later, Theriault is doing the same thing with her three children.
“We always come to Houlton for Independence Day,” she said as she and her family ate french fries with vinegar and cotton candy during a break from “repeated” trips on the Ferris wheel.
The 39-year-old has three boys, ages 10, 8 and 7, and they look forward to the fair every year.
“We really make a day of it,” said Theriault. “We come down for the parade and stay right at the fair until the fireworks. It is a long day for everyone, but we wouldn’t miss it.”
The event, which features a midway, a petting zoo, laser tag, a demolition derby, contests and more, began on Friday and was scheduled to wrap up after the fireworks in Community Park.
On Monday afternoon, Cole Anderson, 10, of Dyer Brook had spent the day with friends and family playing laser tag and watching the mud runs and the horse show.
“I can’t wait for the fireworks,” he said. “I already saw the ones they had on Friday night, and I hope these will be even better.”
On Friday evening, Houlton kicked off its Independence Day festivities with a Midnight Madness celebration, which is an evening-long shopping bonanza in which the prices get lower as the night gets longer. For the first time, revelers at the event were treated to fireworks over the Gateway Crossing Bridge, which spans the Meduxnekeag River.
Anderson and classmate Dustin Miller, 11, said that Friday’s fireworks were “awesome.”
“There were a ton of people there,” said Miller, who attended with his family.
The fair also included concerts, a karaoke contest and a lumberjack show.