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Millinocket hot on the trail with festival celebrating the Appalachian

Posted Sept. 13, 2012, at 7:11 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 14, 2012, at 12:24 p.m.

MILLINOCKET, Maine – Come to town Friday and you might find yourself asked to be the subject of a painter’s portrait.

A dozen artists will go out into the community Friday to paint people, landscapes or scenes that they will display Saturday as part of this weekend’s Trails End Festival, said Marsha Donahue, co-owner of North Light Gallery, which is hosting the Paint Out.

The Paint Out is one of festival organizer Jamie Renaud’s favorite events within the festival.

“I love the idea of the artists coming to the festival because I think that Millinocket just gives itself to being an artists and outdoor recreation community,” Renaud said Thursday.

“This is an area that has tremendous potential for growth in that regard,” she added. “The festival fits into that by promoting what we do best – promoting the history, culture, beauty and a love of the outdoors.”

Begun a half-dozen years ago to celebrate the town’s connection to the Appalachian Trail terminus atop Mount Katahdin within nearby Baxter State Park, the downtown event runs Sept. 14-16 and features lots of food, music, arts and recreational offerings.

The Katahdin region’s many hiking, biking, bird-watching, canoeing, kayaking and ATV riding opportunities are highlighted by the festival, which has a new motto: “Four Seasons of Trails, Recreation and Fun.” A parade featuring hikers, bikers, walkers and ATV riders, a chili cook-off, pie auction, a moonlight kayak ride and canoeing event on Millinocket Stream and antique vehicle show are among the offerings. The vehicle show, called “Pride in Your Ride,” will feature antique cars and motorcycles, tractors, ATVs, bicycles and lawnmowers.

A full schedule of events is available at trailsendfestival.org.

As many as 5,000 people could come to the event, Renaud said. This year’s festival features the Mallett Brothers Band, a favorite Maine alternative-country music act whose appearance at the 2012 KahBang Festival on the Bangor Waterfront helped that event draw tens of thousands. The Mallett Brothers will play at the event from 2-5 p.m. Sunday.

“I have a feeling that we could be getting a big crowd of people because of them,” Renaud said. “They have a very young following.”

Renaud said she hopes to see volunteers at the 4th Annual Hard Core trail project, wherein volunteers will meet at the AT Lodge on Penobscot Avenue before fixing up a lean-to on the Appalachian Trail. Anyone interested in participating may come to the lodge at 7 a.m. Friday or call 723-4321.

Renaud said she wasn’t sure whether the event would get a big boost from the region’s new multiuse trail, which opened last October and which the Trails End Festival highlights. About 90 percent of the visitors to the Katahdin Area Chamber of Commerce office on Route 11 come looking for information on the region’s hiking trails, she said.

“One thing we need is education on the use of a multiuse trail so that it would be more of a multiuse trail,” Renaud said, calling the trail’s traffic “small but growing.”

Donahue said she enjoys how the Trails End Festival underlines Millinocket and the region as a place for artists. She has run Paint Outs for several years as part of it.

“It’s just plain dollars and cents,” she said, calling the festival the best business weekend for her gallery for the past seven years.

“It ends up being a crescendo to the summer season. It’s almost seems to me that the weather turns cool at this time every year. It’s like we’re saying goodbye to summer with the festival and bringing on the changing of the leaves.”

CORRECTION:

An early version of this story requires correction. The Mallett Brothers will perform Sunday, not Saturday.

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