FARMINGTON —  A float down the Sandy River or a fast-paced bed race over downtown streets are two activities being planned for Farmington’s Summer Fest on July 23.

Members of Jobs for Maine’s Graduates at Mt. Blue High School will bring back The Great Float Race, a jaunt down the Sandy River for a variety of river vessels.

 They will also plan the first Dreamin’ Big Bed Race, a new venture, featuring a bed on wheels and five member teams, Casiana Collette, graduating member of JMG, said.

The group will meet next week with advisor Cal Dorman to work out the final details, she said.

Last year, the JMG students organized and held the river race.  Adults, ready for a Hawaiian luau, floated the approximately four-miles down the river on inflatables. They accompanied some younger floaters dressed as nerds with ties and large-rimmed glasses.

“It took about two-and-a-half hours to float down to the railroad trestle area,” Austin Paine said after last year’s race. “There were a few low spots to walk across but it was fun.”


No theme is planned but participants are welcome to come in costume and decorate their vessels, she said.   

Decorated canoes, kayaks, inflatables and a unique alternative watercraft comprised of noodles navigated the river from the Fairbanks bridge to the former Maine Central Railroad trestle area. 

The race begins at 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 23.  All are welcome but younger participants need to be accompanied by an adult, she said. 

Prizes are awarded for costumes, most original vessel and vessel decoration. Participants can register at the Chamber of Commerce booth before noon or at the Fairbanks landing at 12:30 p.m.

The newest race, Dreamin’ Big Bed Race, begins at 7:15 p.m. Saturday, July 23, with the street route yet to be determined, Collette said.

While team members push the bed on wheels, one person is required to be on the bed and must wear a helmet.


It can be any type of bed decorated as the team wants, she said.

Prizes awarded for best decoration, best costumes, best time and most original bed design, Susun Terese, Summer Fest organizer, said.

Teams can register at Minikins, 218 Broadway, or by contacting Terese at [email protected] or calling 491-5533. They can also register at the Chamber of Commerce booth up to 4 p.m. on the day of the festival.

When Terese met with the JMG students to discuss their participation with the river race again this year, the students were very receptive to taking on the bed race too, she said.

And, that is part of their purpose … to undertake service projects, learn leadership skills and become involved in the community, Dorman said.

JMG is also about planning for our future, Collette said of the 56 member group. 


But, this past year, the learning took place while they were involved in events.

The group took responsibility to bring the Harlem Superstars to Mt. Blue, held a blood drive, helped with window painting at Halloween in Farmington, worked on winter carnival and helped with Literacy Volunteers annual book sale at the Elk Lodge, she said.

“It was a very busy year,” she said. “I can’t remember all that we did.”

This was Collette’s third and last year in the organization as she graduated last month.  As the older organizers undertake a project, they try to bring the underclassmen in so that when the seniors move on the younger students can step up, she said.

The group also does some fund-raising to help with their projects. They sell Little Caesar pizza kits and candy grams, she said.

The float race last year had a good turnout, Collette said. Two of our members follow behind the watercraft.

Summer Fest is sponsored by the Farmington Downtown Association.  A variety of “old tyme fun” activities and music is planned for Friday night and Saturday.

For more information, contact Terese or visit the Downtown Farmington website,

[email protected]

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