SKOWHEGAN — Skowhegan’s Fun And Business Fair — the FAB Fair, the town’s original “cabin fever reliever” — continued Saturday with more than 60 area businesses displaying their wares at Skowhegan Area High School.
Warm temperatures outside gave a few hundred people the excuse to get out and enjoy the day, Cory King, executive director of fir sponsor Skowhegan Area Chamber of Commerce, said from his booth in the school cafeteria.
“I’m very, very happy with the turnout,” King said, selling cards for the Chamber’s bingo game. “We had a good rush at the beginning. I think it’s just a warm day and people wanted to come out, and I’m really glad they did.”
Businesses included massage therapy demonstrations by Blue Ridge Massage, jewelry vendors, health and beauty products, food samples from Skowhegan restaurants, Greta’s Little Bakehouse goods from Wellington, and a new spicy Bloody Mary mix called Ass Over Teakettle.
“It means â€˜head over heels,'” mix creator Katie Quinn, of Cornville, said recently. “It will kick you right square in the donkey and knock you head over heels.”
There was a 50/50 raffle, the FAB Fair luck-of-the-draw auction and the Chamber bingo door prize game, with the winner getting a 7-inch Netbook. The chamber also displayed whittled replicas of the Skowhegan Indian sculpture by Sharon Kimball.
Small statues sold for $5, and orders were taken for larger statues, according to King. The chamber also had Skowhegan Indian T-shirts on sale. Proceeds for both will benefit the Skowhegan Indian Restoration project.
The Chamber took over the annual Getting to Know You Fair 10 years ago from the Skowhegan Community Action Group, which ran its first fair in 1977 as a cure for the mid-winter blahs.
A Midge Theater Arts troupe of children performed twice Saturday at the fair, with some taking part in “The Wizard of Oz” for the first time before a live audience.
“It was boot camp theater,” Midge Pomelow, of Solon, said between shows. “They put this production together in one week over February vacation. It was about 30 hours of work, and here we are. This is the first time they’re have their props and costumes. It was pretty incredible.”
Visitors at the fair said they enjoyed the food and many booths, including the Somerset County Humane Society exhibit that featured cats waiting to be adopted.
Crystal Tufts, of Madison, said she took a break from her own booth at Woodlawn Rehab & Nursing Center in Skowhegan to admire the cats and to visit humane society director Hattie Spaulding and her husband, Charley.
Damsel in Defense owner Sue King, of Burnham, displayed her self-defense items for women as one of the many presenters Saturday.
“We’ve got pepper sprays, stun guns — security on the go,” King said. “Our mission is to empower, educate and equip women with self-defense products.”
Members of the Skowhegan Fire Department and Police Department also were on hand at the fair Saturday, showing visitors what they do each day in matters of public safety.
Police Chief Ted Blais said his booth included surveys given to residents to check the community’s pulse.
“I wanted to reach out to citizens and see if they’d be willing to give some feedback about how the Police Department’s doing,” Blais said. “It’s basic questions about how they feel about the Police Department, if we’re doing an OK job or if there are areas for improvement.”
Generally, he said, the bulk of survey respondents report being satisfied with what the department is doing.
Interim Skowhegan Town Manager Greg Dore, serving food samples from the Old Mill Pub, which his family owns, said the turnout Saturday was better than last year’s. He said he was happy to have the FAB Fair in February again after organizers moved it to March a few years ago.
“It’s been good; it’s been steady,” Dore said. “I’d say several hundred people have come by today.”