KINGFIELD — Crowds gathered along the town’s Main Street, waiting eagerly for the first siren wails and horn honks that signaled the start of the annual Kingfield Festival Days parade.

Volunteers wearing neon-lime-green T-shirts hustled among the spectators, checking last-minute details and coping with small emergencies. Emily Hatfield was one of the first two volunteers who offered to keep the event going after longtime committee chairman Holly Paul announced her retirement. Hatfield and Danielle Mathieu found more volunteers to continue the four days of fun that brings hundreds of visitors to the area.

“Everyone keeps thanking me, but it’s our town that made this happen,” she said as her eyes filled with tears. “I’m so proud of our community, and I can’t talk about it without getting choked up.”

Jane Lane was crowned Mrs. Kingfield 2013, and she rode at the head of Saturday’s Grand Parade, which was themed “Only in Maine.” Creators of the 28 floats competed for prizes, using their imagination and creativity. Winners included Ain’t No Party Like a Redneck Party, Funniest; Red Snapper, Best Theme; Pimped Out Tractor, Best Vehicle; Narrow Gauge Circus Train, Best In Costume; and Poachin’ Ain’t Easy, Best In Show.

On the West Kingfield Road, a steady parade of a different kind made its way to an equally treasured annual event — the Carrabassett Valley Mud Bowl. At noon, the Nashua Mud Gumbys and the Mount Washington Valley Hogs, a football team from North Conway, N.H., took a break and planned their strategies. The Mud Gumbys were heavily favored, with a halftime score of 14-0.

According to Mud Rats team member Eric Handley of Sidney, the games started 31 years ago in 1972. Players on the field span at least a generation, he said.

“I’ve been doing this since 1992,” he said. “Some of the guys on our team weren’t even born then.”

Seven teams competed, but the Carrabassett Valley camaraderie and challenge doesn’t end this weekend. Teams compete throughout the summer and end with a big Mud Bowl in North Conway, N.H., Sept. 6-8. Money raised is given to charitable nonprofits and scholarship funds. The football games are like regular football games — with referees, coaches, cheerleaders and fan clubs — only shorter and knee-deep in mud. About 50,000 gallons of water, some of which was contributed by recent torrential downpours, provided the requisite 2 feet of mud, so games will continue Sunday.

Festival events and competitions on Sunday continue with the third annual 5K Run/Walk and a children’s 1-mile run, with registration at Jordan Lumber’s parking lot at 7:30 a.m. Walkers start at 7:55 a.m., runners at 8:20 a.m. and children at 9 a.m.

“Competitors should arrive at least 15 minutes early,” Hatfield said. “There’s usually a good crowd, and we don’t want to see anyone miss the start of the race.”

Festival events also include a skillet toss competition at 1 p.m. and a Chowdah Cook-Off at 2 p.m. at the Woodsman Restaurant. The Franklin County Animal Shelter will hold a benefit yard sale. The Stanley Museum, Ski Museum and the Historical Society will offer free admission to their exhibits.


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