MADAWASKA, Maine — From alternative energy to natural beauty products, the annual Top O’ Maine Trade Show’s 2009 theme, “Going Green,” drew hundreds of northern Maine residents to the Madawaska Multipurpose Center over the weekend to get a firsthand look at environmentally friendly goods and services.

“People really do care and want to know what they can do to make a difference,” said Sid Sinclair of Efficiency Maine. “They want to save energy and reduce their impact on the environment.”

An outreach program of the Maine Public Utilities Commission, Efficiency Maine is a statewide effort to promote the more efficient use of electricity to help Maine residents and businesses reduce energy costs and improve Maine’s environment.

“We try to educate people to save energy so they can save money in the process,” Sinclair said. “It’s a great part of my job that I can tell people, ‘I’m from the government and I’m here to help you,’ and I really do.”

At the trade show Sinclair was stressing several Efficiency Maine programs, including free recycling of energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Efficiency Maine also promotes the use of alternative energies, though Sinclair cautions residents to do some homework before installing a system.

“We see more and more people getting into wind power,” he said. “It’s good as long as the location is good and the turbines are up high enough. Just because an area seems breezy does not mean there is enough wind volume to produce energy.”

Several alternative energy businesses were on hand for the show, including Maine Solar and Wind of Fort Kent and C.M. McCormick of Whitefield.

A concern for the environment and skin care led Donna Roy and Denise Baron to found Amazing Face by D&D Fundamentals in Fort Kent.

Using all organic botanicals, sea minerals and vitamins, Amazing Face products are the result of Baron’s eight years of research and clinical studies.

“We both feel women and men need to know they are beautiful,” Roy said. “We all have amazing faces.”

The women bottle the products themselves and Baron noted their Ontario-based supplier is a green laboratory powered by wind and solar energy.

“Our skin is really a canvas of what is going on inside our bodies,” Roy said. “If there are toxins inside, they will come out of our skin.”

The women hope to promote their products to provide a natural alternative for people interested in skin health.

“I’m more interested in the natural products,” said Mary Grice of Fort Kent. “Everything you read about chemicals is not good [and] these days natural is the way to go.”

Helping to promote a sustainable environment is Andrew Marquis of Marquis Tree Works in St. Agatha.

Marquis was in his trade show booth with his golden retriever TJ discussing forestry practices and procedures for the small and large woodlot owner.

“I’m big on making it look very aesthetically pleasing when I’m done working in an area,” Marquis said. “I take a lot of pride in being neat, organized and professional.”

The annual trade show is sponsored by the Greater Madawaska Area Chamber of Commerce and on Saturday afternoon executive director Steven Hughes was thrilled with the turnout.

“I’m very pleased with the crowds we are seeing,” Hughes said. “We have a really good mix of exhibits this year.”


Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly

Julia Bayly is a reporter at the Bangor Daily News with a regular bi-weekly column. Julia has been a freelance travel writer/photographer since 2000.