About Our Chamber & Events
– Our Mission –
The mission of the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce is to promote and advance a healthy business environment through tourism, economic vitality and community development while preserving our rich cultural heritage.
– About Us –
The Greater Fort Kent Chamber of Commerce was established in 1946 to support the economic and community development of the Upper St. John Valley. The goals set by our founding members still remain.
We meet our mission in a variety of ways-
- We coordinate various activities, and promote member- sponsored activities, in an effort to promote tourism and shopping locally.
- We disseminate information regarding resources and upcoming opportunities that would benefit the local business community.
- We advocate for rural and/or small businesses.
- We provide local information to visitors / new residents through the our Visitor Information Center and visitor guide.
- We support our member businesses’ marketing efforts using a variety of formats – social media, cooperative advertising, and chamber mixers, to name a few.
- We represent the Greater Fort Kent business community with other business/economic development agencies on a statewide level, as well as with our neighbors to the north in Canada.
Our membership is comprised of businesses from throughout the area, as well as, Associate Members (individuals who support the Chamber of Commerce), local clubs/organizations and businesses from out of the area that do business in or have a connection with the Greater Fort Kent Communities.
The Greater Fort Kent Area covers a significant section of the Upper St. John River Valley and includes the communities of Allagash, Cross Lake Township, Eagle Lake, Fort Kent, Frenchville, New Canada, Portage Lake, St. Agatha, St. Francis, St. John Plantation, Sinclair, Wallagrass and Winterville Plantation.
– Notice –
Please note that due to COVID-19 public health guidelines, the dates listed below are subject to change or cancellation at a moment’s notice.
Please contact us prior to the event to confirm that we are still hosting it this year.
– Chamber-Sponsored Events –
Annual Ploye Festival
The 2nd weekend in August is a busy time in Fort Kent. The Fort Kent International Muskie Derby is in full swing and fisher-folks from all over come to catch that record-breaking muskie.
It is also that time when school will soon be in session – and families are trying to cram much summer fun into their days as possible.
What better way to wrap up your summer with a celebration an Acadian Icon – the Ploye (the Acadian buckwheat pancake).
This event includes activities such as making the world’s largest ploye, reunions, musical entertainment, vendor booths, and more. It’s a weekend of fun for the whole family.
Visit/Like our Ploye Fest Facebook page for up-to-date information.
2021 Ploye Festival & Fort Kent International Muskie Derby: TBA
The Scarecrow Festival is held in-tandem with the University of Maine at Fort Kent’s Homecoming Weekend. This weekend is chock full of activity – all in celebration of the changing of the season and harvest-time. Between the Homecoming events, the Festival and taking in the fall atmosphere (fall foliage rides/hikes, exploring the Scenic & Cultural Byways, fishing, hunting), the most difficult thing will be to fit it all into your itinerary.
Visit/Like our Fort Kent Scarecrow Festival Facebook page for up-to-date information.
2021 Scarecrow Festival & UMFK Homecoming Weekend: TBA
Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair
The Greater Fort Kent Chamber of Commerce Annual Arts & Crafts Fair has been running strong for thirty-eight years and seems to get better and better with every holiday season.
This Crafts Fair is held on the weekend after Thanksgiving at the University of Maine at Fort Kent Sports Complex and holds approximately 120 vendor spaces. This craft-only fair (handmade items only) continues to draw in record numbers of patrons every year. It would be safe to say that this is one of the biggest and better arts and crafts fair in all of northern Maine.
40th Annual GFKCC Holiday Arts & Crafts Fair: Nov. 27 & 28, 2021 (tentative)
Small Business Saturday®. Shop Small® is a program developed by American Express. It is an annual event held on the Saturday after Thanksgiving and is designed to promote shopping in small businesses.
As promoting and advancing a healthy business environment is an integral part of our Chamber’s mission, we support and help coordinate this initiative with our chamber members in an effort to encourage people to shop at our small businesses.
2021 Small Business Saturday: Nov. 27, 2021
In collaboration with the Fort Kent Lion’s Club and the Fort Kent Fire Department, the Chamber also hosts a Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony in the early evening on the Saturday after Thanksgiving.
The Christmas Tree is lit for the first time of the holiday season in the center of Downtown Fort Kent, and Santa and Mrs. Claus stop by to visit with all the children from the community present at the event.
2021 Town of Fort Kent Christmas Tree Lighting: Nov. 27, 2021
At the end of the Chamber’s fiscal year, in the beginning of the new calendar year, the Board of Directors hosts the Greater Fort Kent Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Meeting.
This event is an opportunity to celebrate all our successes over the past year and express our gratitude to everyone present for their support.
This is also the moment where we welcome new board members and officers to their new positions and give out awards to outstanding Chamber Members. The Greater Fort Kent community also uses this venue to announce their annual Greater Fort Kent Citizen of the Year.
73rd Annual Greater Fort Kent Chamber of Commerce Dinner: Feb. 5, 2021
Note: The 2021 event was held virtually due to social distancing guidelines and can be viewed on the Annual Meeting webpage – just click the link above.
…AND SO MUCH MORE!
Along with these events, we help to coordinate ribbon cutting ceremonies for new businesses and chamber mixers (networking opportunities and for members, a time to showcase their business to the rest of the membership). We also operate a Visitor Information Center and sell America’s First Mile & Can Am Crown International Sled Dog Race Souvenirs.
Occasionally, the Board of Directors will also sponsor one-time events, such as the Duck Derby, or raise funds for new community signs- or attempt to add other annual events such as the Spring Fling, Riverfest, Dickens of a Christmas or Green Ribbon Days. We also support and help out with other large scale events that happen to come by, such as the 2014 World Acadian Congress Bike Maine 2018 and the Fort Kent Sesquicentennial.
These events have come and gone, but the Chamber continues to look for unique and fun ways to support the local communities, tourism and local businesses and organizations. It is who we are. It is why we are here.