Maine small town living involves lots of volunteers working together for the unique quality of life experience.
And when local festivals or celebrations are started, the tradition needs protection to keep them happening year after year. New laborers and creative minds introduced to help the event expand and to replace those that have to step back and pull away. The events build, even the date they are held becomes sacred. Because folks plan their vacation routines around working the local small Maine town celebrations or attending them. Many travel long distances to come home from far away year after year. Both natives and new to the area folks that enjoy the experience. But the dates are what cause so much to be done to build around them.
Merchants plan their retail sales around the event. Motels and other lodging options get reservations in advance preparing for the local special event. Lots of publicity promoting the dates and times of the local community activity are put into print circulation and with online electron mass media transmissions. Social media outlets are set up to spread the word across the land. But based on a particular date in time that drives all that is planned around the event.
There are 25 state fairs in Maine.
And each one is special, hand made, a clever grass root creation unique to the area it reflects. The communities in Maine are not just the empty buildings on Main Street, town hall, schools, churches and houses but the people who live in the small town. The folks that invest their creative spirit and financial, time resources into everything that goes on in the small Maine town. There is nothing stronger than the heart of a local Maine volunteer with fierce pride in their home town. It is a sad day when another community threatens another’s labor of love activity in the same Maine county.
Like small plant seedlings that need protection from the elements until they gain strength and stamina, small Maine towns face lots of challenges to keep the event that swims in the local economy going. To weed, feed, water, guide and groom the festivals that struggle due to the dwindling economy. Whatever recreational, educational, sporting or amusement, all the local events and any annual celebrations that improves the quality of life are the spark of the community spirit. So many of the happenings to improve living in the small Maine town are 90 percent volunteer home grown effort and ten percent actual infused upfront monetary subsidy. Hard work trumps writing a check to pull off the event annually.
So when year after year a Maine town sponsors a festival, celebration, event, that town putting on their all out best effort for any local well planned activity, it is a beautiful thing.
It’s an example of local team work. Until something ugly happens. When a county town is pushed and they return the shove that affects another community in Maine. That’s what is happening concerning the 4th of July Houlton Maine Agricultural State Fair and the one held later the same month in Northern Maine Fair in Presque Isle. The latter is touted online as “always the fourth Friday in July to the first Saturday in August”.
The Houlton celebration a licensed State of Maine Fair since 1981. The fair, parade, retail sales in Midnight Madness in Market Square, Demolition Derby, truck pulls, horse shows, the craft fair in the park and more offer amusement and entertainment for all ages around the 4th of July. The 4H exhibits and demonstrations of all kinds, the musical acts, demonstrations, rides, games, vendor food make it a memorable experience for old and young alike. The local tradition does not just happen and is worked on and attended by most of the population in the surrounding Maine communities where it is hosted.
In August of this year, Smokey’s Greater Shows and the Northern Maine Fair agreed to petition the State of Maine to have their fair operate from Friday June 28th to Saturday July 6, 2019. Smokey’s is telling Houlton Fair to change the long time tradition July 4th schedule as the first state fair on the schedule. Recreate everything July 11th through the 14th, 2019. Whoa. And if we don’t, Houlton Maine won’t have them for a carnival amusement ride and game provider next year and for subsequent years. The hearing on the state level for such a move is considered October 12th at 10 AM in Augusta.
Tourism in Maine is strongest the closest you get to population centers out of state.
Where people in the urban areas can and do travel across the big green bridge to the south. To access the beach regions of Maine where the cost of living is a little bit steeper. To venture into the handful of cities small rural Maine has dotting the map. Up into the interior, the further north, east, west you go into this under populated New England state the flow of money slows, the economy is more rugged. But the community spirit and real not spun grass roots things we do for fun take place.
A bean supper, a fishing derby, an opening day of hunting season for someone with say a moose permit is a big deal. The lumbermen’s or agricultural museum reflect the traditions surrounding those two big industries where hard working Mainer’s earned their World wide known and respected work ethic reputation. Regional and state sporting competitions of any kind are a big deal in small rural Maine!
With farming, timbering forest operations getting bigger in size and fewer in the actual company numbers, the scramble to find anything to replace the loss of jobs and our Maine heritage is a hard fought struggle.
The push for speed of thought Internet connectivity. The “bring your job with you to work online remotely” for members of the audience considering relocation here to Maine is one highly important segment to court and woo. Bragging up Maine’s small town wholesome values and building work ethic spirit, a quality life skill sets for young families members to benefit from is another trumpet blast being made daily from Vacationland.
Spelling out the lack of crime, traffic too and availability of quality health care for the “new at being old” elderly members out in the wild blue yonder are another important marketing target to keep the US census numbers up around the state of Maine.
Those retired transplants moving, relocating to Maine bring skills and donate their free time now that they don’t chase the dollar in the work world. They contribute their free manpower and creative ideas from a new area of the planet to add to the small Maine town way of life. All of us are ambassadors of Maine. Each and everyone of us wants to help spread the word on why we live here, what we love most about Maine.
It was sad to hear this week of a move underfoot to undermine the Houlton ME State Fair by another state fair venue in the same county. There is pressure from the carnival provider to make the two events closer together to justify the spin up into Aroostook County. The trip for just one outing is not cost effective, we get that. But for the Presque Isle Fair along with the carnival provider to petition the to change both venue dates is concerning.
I am hopeful something can be worked out in the spirit of compromise to help both venues continue their years of tradition providing family fun. But not at the expense of either state fair venue’s historical success. And to avoid doing something that ends up hurting both communities because of the programming just too closely to give locals a chance to feel the need and to afford each of the area events.
The licensed Maine state fairs are an excellent educational and amusement entertainment value!
Carnivals in Maine have suffered from the high cost of insurance, difficulty getting quality employees for seasonal work and meeting the demands the public expect in their hungry as a horse entertainment appetite. Like most things in life now profits are smaller and businesses have to be keenly run. Your profit is found in your expenses. Volume, higher user numbers grease the gears and in a small population rural state like Maine located quite a ways up the pike, there’s the rub. The distance away from major markets helps insulate and isolate at the same time.
To step out and find a new replacement carnival circus amusement provider is difficult when the number of shows up and running is a low one. And when you read comments on the social media sites of state fairs, the public is very vocal and some very critical.
Being a volunteer on a Maine event is a thankless job and you must be tough skinned, tender hearted. It is harder to please the public members who want something for nothing or just don’t the money needed to take in multiple days of a celebration. Pride you gain from a job well done is the reward and don’t expect attention and praise from other community members who are working just as hard or putting even more effort into their list of community events.
Here’s the 2018 list of Maine’s State Fairs and their dates.
I am sure all the other state fairs, festivals in Maine that build around amusement rides that a carnival operator provides are feeling the same pinch. How to keep the well establish date for the celebration but to modify the schedule of events to make it something for everyone. Without going head over heels in debt that would kill the past time completely.
Leaving one big air sucking hole in the local fabric of life in a small Maine town proud to be the sponsor of the year after year event.
Where late night meetings, study of other venues, where planning for the next celebration or festival starts the day of the last one. It never stops and you work the event for life because looking behind you shows no person or a very short line of new blood willing to step in and work behind the scenes forever.
Writes your letters, show your concern and in the spirit of cooperation hammer out a plan to show how to preserve the state fair experience in Aroostook County, any county. Done with the least disruption to all the hard working volunteers feeling threatened and territorial that put their back into the local event that helps keep their town on the Maine map! The effort should be plowed back into the event not spent with the politics of how to poach, protect and maintain what we already have to avoid hard feelings and resentment.
207.532.6573 | firstname.lastname@example.org | MOOERS REALTY 69 North ST Houlton ME 04730 USA