Berries and art: Farmington readies for festival

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FARMINGTON – After a successful event last year, organizers of the second annual Farmington Strawberry Festival and Art in the Park are prepped for a repeat performance this Friday and Saturday.

“Last year was tremendous,” said Marsha Planting, an organizer of the event for the Farmington Business and Professional Association on Wednesday, “it was so much fun.”

Among the new events this year, she said, will be a skateboarding demonstration starting at 10 a.m. Saturday on Broadway near Main Street. The event is sponsored by a new business, Imperial Board Lords, located over Shiretown Insurance.

Six young skaters will demonstrate techniques and jumps as space allows, said business owner, Chris Maturi.

The festival begins Friday with all-day sales and sidewalk sales in downtown businesses. The Farmington Fire Rescue Department will sponsor their annual chicken barbecue starting at 4 p.m. in the Franklin County Courthouse parking lot.

A road race takes place on Friday night this year with registration beginning at 4:30 p.m. in front of Shiretown Insurance. The mile race begins at 5:30 p.m. and a 5K at 6:15 p.m.

The Fairbanks Union Church will again offer its strawberry shortcakes all day Saturday. Other tasty items, including strawberry-rhubarb pie, also will be available.

The traditional juried art show, Art in the Park, begins at 11 a.m. Saturday in Meetinghouse Park.

Several performers are also scheduled to appear, she said, including professional comedian Randy Judkins, known as Judd the Jester, who puts on a fabulous show of magic and juggling, she said.

The Temple Stream Puppet Theater will present a puppet show and stilt-walkers will be rambling around on Broadway on Saturday, she said. A favorite band for the Farmington area, The Fugitives, will return this year to perform, along with other entertainers scheduled to appear under the tent throughout the day.

Craft demonstrations, including a pottery wheel, wood turning, glass blowing and herbal wreath-making will be held all day Saturday. A variety of vendor and craft booths will be located along the closed-to-traffic section of Broadway, from Main to High street, she said.

“We’re looking to expand on the successful day last year,” said Michael Blanchet, president of the downtown group that also have several sponsors outside the downtown area involved this year. “We’ve added more family-type events with local entertainers, lots of music and dancing, street performers and magicians,” he said.

The Healthy Community Coalition will offer free samples of strawberry smoothies at 2 p.m. on Saturday as well as provide free blood pressure checks. The group will offer health information from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at their van located in front of Sugarwood Gallery.

Mt. Blue student Fairfield Bonsall will demonstrate and provide samples of smoothies, according to a release from the coalition. Bonsall won a “Now You’re Cookin!” contest held at Mt. Blue Middle School last fall as part of Weslene Marble’s science class. The event was organized by University of Maine at Farmington health students, Alyce Cavanaugh and Jasmine Brooks. In one of the class sessions on breakfast, the students prepared smoothies. Fairfield, the son of Molly Thorkildsen and Will Bonsall of Industry, will be a freshman at Mt. Blue High School this fall.

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