NORWAY – U.S. Sen. Susan Collins will be in town Saturday afternoon to tour the Norway Arts Festival and get a close-up look at the town’s rich history.

“It’s fabulous,” said Aranka Matolcsy, coordinator of the Norway Summer Festival.

Matolcsy said that when she heard the Maine Republican senator was scheduled to attend a private fundraising event being held by local businesswoman Suzanne Grover, she jumped at the chance to have the senator come downtown to the festival.

Collins is campaigning for re-election against Democratic challenger U.S. Rep. Tom Allen.

A quick call to the senator’s office and arrangements were made for Collins to tour all five blocks of the festival venue Saturday beginning at 2:30 p.m.

“Any amount of attention will just increase the opportunities for the artists,” said Matolcsy, who is also executive director of the Matolcsy Arts Center at 480 Main St.

Thousands of visitors are expected to turn out for the annual arts festival, now in its 41st year.

It opens Thursday with a lecture at the library and continues Friday with public suppers, a book sale at the Norway Public Library and other events.

The festival culminates Saturday as scores of artists show works along with musicians, dancers, children’s activities and more. The art exhibited will include realist paintings, abstract multi-media, photography, fiber art, jewelry, metal and wood sculpture, and glass art.

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