Yes, it’s a lot of work. Yes, it’s absolutely insane to see 10,000 people showing up in a town with a population of 4,000. Planning takes months, and sometimes I feel like I’m losing my mind in the process, but on that day, man is it so worth it.
For the seventh year, the Center Theatre and Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce will partner with other local and regional businesses to bring the sweetest Maine festival back to downtown Dover-Foxcroft on June 25th. In addition to an incredible 10,000 whoopie pies being prepared, this year we changed several key aspects of the festival, making it all SO MUCH SWEETER.
In previous years, the festival ran from 10am to 3pm, but this year, it will run until 8pm. There were so many reasons we thought this would be a good idea. I handle all the vendors who park on Main St. the artisans, crafters, and food vendors. They have expressed disappointment at one time or another with the length of the festival, the day moved much too quickly for most, and they really wanted more time to sell their product. Keeping the festival open until 8pm gives the vendors a great opportunity to potentially see a different crowd, like those folks who work on Saturdays and haven’t been able to come to the festival before. We are hoping it will also motivate vendors and visitors from away to stay overnight and spend extra time in Piscataquis County. We need to maximize every opportunity we have.
In addition to the extended schedule, the layout of the festival has changed significantly. Before, the bakers and live music stage were stationed in a parking lot behind two Main St. restaurants, Pastimes Pub and Pat’s Pizza, and away from the vendors on E. Main St. This separate area is where the contests, judging, and live broadcasts were held. Festival goers had to stand in a LONG LINE to enter this area, called “The Whoopie Pie Zone” and pay an entrance fee. Some vendors on E. Main felt they saw less traffic because crowds would turn the corner before visiting the vendor booths placed after the WP Zone entrance. This year, the festival is laid out like a ‘V’, with Main St. Zone vendors on the left arm, Whoopie Pie bakers and festival merchandise on the right arm, and between them, the Varney Agency’s Kids Zone with fabulous kids’ rides and games. Finally, a food court with picnic tables, a ‘street dance’ area, and the music stage with live broadcasts and contests where the two arms meet, directly in the center of Downtown Dover-Foxcroft.
Now, doesn’t that sound like a blast?
I’m happy to say we can say bye-bye to long lines – there will be THREE entrance gates this year, and admission to the festival has been brought down to an easy $3 per person due to the generosity of festival sponsors, with children under 12 getting in free. This means shorter, faster moving lines and a greater opportunity for all vendors to see the same traffic. The first gate, sponsored by Bangor Savings Bank, will be at the corner of Rt 15 (E Main) and Court St., to the east of Rite Aid. The second gate, sponsored by Bangor Daily News, will be stationed on the west side of the Ride Aid, at the corner of Court and Pleasant Streets. The third gate, sponsored by Dave’s World and US Cellular, will be stationed downtown, in front of the True Value building, adjacent to the music stage. As they come in to town, festival-goers will find signs directing them to the fairgrounds for parking, where shuttle buses will transfer them to and from the festival.
Live music will be performed this year by two bands. Sharon Hood and Dixon Road will play all day long with Willicker playing a set in the afternoon. The Z107.3/Townsquare Media Street Dance is a new addition to the festival, as well as a designated food court, as most of the food vendors will be stationed in one place, with plenty of seating in the court and other shady spots throughout the festival.
This year, we applied for an received a 5,000 marketing grant through the Maine Office of Tourism to better promote the festival outside of the region, and we are excited to see what impact it will all have on the final numbers this year. Will we break 10,000???
The Whoopie Pie Festival organizers are grateful for the ongoing community support and the financial support of this year’s sponsors, including: Bangor Savings Bank, Dave’s World, Z107.3, BDN Maine, the Varney Agency, Will’s Shop ‘n Save, The Freedom House Bed & Breakfast, Foxcroft Printers, Bergs Sportswear, George Howard Insurance, Kim Cavanaugh Law Office, Mallett Real Estate, Pat’s Pizza of Dover-Foxcroft, Rideout Seasonal Services, and True Textiles, with Maine Credit Unions as the official sponsor of the Main St. Zone for the second year.
So, I don’t know about you, but I have a feeling the 7th Annual Maine Whoopie Pie Festival might just be the best and most memorable one yet. Why don’t you come by and check it out? It will be a really fun way to take a Peek into Piscataquis.
For more information, please visit mainewhoopiepiefestival.com or call 564-7533.