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Maine Harvest Festival marks eighth year

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Maine Harvest Festival marks eighth year (photo courtesy Maine Harvest Festival/Facebook)

ORONO - The eighth annual Maine Harvest Festival is coming to the Cross Insurance Center.

This year’s (and every year’s) theme is “Celebrating Farm Fresh” and will be held November 17 and 18. The goal of the Festival is to encourage, promote and celebrate the end of the harvest. Close to 200 Maine farmers, festival food producers, and local business will be present, meeting and greeting shoppers inside the CIC arena.    

A number of events are lined up on each day. Saturday shoppers will have the opportunity to sample Maine beer and liquors, attend a live cooking demonstration, learn about beekeeping, and more. Events Sunday begin with “Buckwheat Crepes,” a crepe-making demonstration, and end with the Awards and Recognition ceremony.

Harvest Festival Founder and Director Judith Perkins took the time to speak to the Maine Edge.

“Our Schedule of Events changes every year with a focus this year on filling our schedule with only our 2018 vendors talents and businesses,” said Perkins. “Old favorites will be toe-tapping live music, holiday shopping and our two-crusted pie competition and award ceremony.”

Thanks to the work of Perkins and her team and the many wonderful local vendors, the Maine Harvest Festival has been a success year-after-year and has grown tremendously since its start in 2010. In 2015, the Maine Harvest Festival was recognized as the fifth-best Harvest Festival in the country by USA Today.

Asked how the Festival has grown, Perkins remembered the MHF’s beginnings.

“The 2010 festival (took its maiden voyage in Bangor's Auditorium & Civic Center with approximately 50 vendors) welcomed a little over 3000 in attendance that included excited vendors and happy sampling and shopping patrons,” she said. “Many had no idea that their backyards were filled with such wonderful Maine harvested, processed and created products. We were certain that first year that we had a ‘keeper.’ We've grown every year and this year we are looking forward to over 8500 with close to 200 vendors in our marketplace accompanied by Maine chefs, educational presenters, home cooks, fiber artisans, musicians and much much more.”

Shoppers travel from all corners of Maine and New England to attend the Harvest Festival. Some have even come from as far away as Canada. Those interested in staying overnight have a number of lodging options - as the Harvest Festival has partnered with several hotels in the greater Bangor area to accommodate both vendors and patrons.  

There will be something for anyone at this year’s festival. Vendors range from local farms, to restaurants, to soap-makers, to artisans such as the “Bee Whisperer,” to non-profit organizations like the Good Shepherd Food Bank, to distilleries, breweries, wineries, and many more.

Oh, and if you happen to be in the market for a European scythe - they’ve got those too.

This year’s Festival will feature 22 new vendors and 85 percent return of vendors from the 2017 Festival. The Harvest Festival runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on November 17 and 18.

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