Back to Fort Fairfield Journal      WFFJ-TV      Contact Us


69th Annual Maine Potato Blossom Festival


By:  David Deschesne

Fort Fairfield Journal, July 20, 2016


   The 69th annual Maine Potato Blossom Festival has concluded with another successful event.  The apex of the Festival, the Maine Potato Blossom Parade, billed as one of the largest parades in Northern New England, saw an increase in entrants compared to the past several years.  The various floats and other entries showed much more color, design and effort than years past and brings one back to the parades from decades ago.  At about two hours long, the parade seems to be making a comeback to its former status.

   “I haven't seen every parade for the past twenty years but it's definitely larger than last year and larger than what we've seen in quite a while,” said Tim Goff, Executive Director of the Fort Fairfield Chamber of Commerce, and director of the Maine Potato Blossom Festival.  “The biggest positive I take away from this year's event is the number of folks from further away who said they came here specifically for this.”

   For example, Miss Rhode Island USA Ambassador Junior Teen 2016, Emily Johnson traveled with her family to Fort Fairfield to be in the parade and enjoy the Festival.   “They got a camp up in Portage to come here and enjoy the music and enjoy the wilderness.”

   The first-ever International Tater Tot eating contest got of to a good first-year start with  14 entrants; seven men, two women and five youth.   “I wish we had a few more entries but for the first time being held, it was really well-attended.  I anticipate that we will host the contest again next year.” 

   There were a couple of days of rain but the weather was good for the most part.  “These are some of the logistical challenges of putting on 101 events in a small town, over the course of nine or ten days,” said Goff.   “Now Saturday we had perfect weather, you couldn't have dialed it in any better but we may make some changes for the post-parade crowd next year by pushing the bands on the main stage back to 7pm and 9pm so we're not competing with the bandstand entertainment and to give people a chance to regroup from the parade and to attend any class or family reunions they may have planned for that day.”

   Goff says he's keeping his eye on the big picture when assessing the Festival.  “A lot of what we're trying to do is working to understand how to bring people in to Fort Fairfield.  How do we increase the economic impact of this event?  How do we get people further afield to explore Aroostook County?  Those are the benchmarks that I feel are the most important. It's tough to bring people here but when we do I think they get a good sense of Aroostook County, our community and what we're all about.”  

Click here for a short highlights video of this year’s Maine Potato Blossom Festival parade.

Click here for assorted 2016 Festival photos