OAKLAND — This year’s OakFest — planned for the weekend of July 22-24 — is already set to be nearly twice the size as last year’s, with events ranging from a fishing derby, live music, dancing on Main Street, a parade and triathlon.

The town’s second annual celebration has 97 craft vendors, 14 food vendors and a variety of activities for children, including pony rides, a bounce house and face painting for the open air market on Saturday, July 23. The Messalonskee Lake Association also is going to build a mock loon nest for people to view at one of the vendor spots.

Last year’s OakFest had a total of 63 vendors.

The OakFest Committee met Tuesday night to discuss preparations for the second annual town celebration.

“We’ve got everything in place,” Town Manager Gary Bowman said. “The only thing now is getting people and volunteers.”

A resident also volunteered to photograph the weekend events. William Henderson, who moved to Oakland from Louisiana in 2008, is working at Kennebec Valley Community College while also attending the school. He pursues photography as a hobby and offered to help the town after he saw members of the flower committee gardening, he said at the meeting.

The first event is a week before OakFest weekend, on Sunday, July 16, with the open water fishing derby on local lakes. Anne Hammond, chairwoman of the fishing derby and treasurer of the committee, is using Facebook to market the event and has been handing out fliers at bass tournaments, she said. She’s also planning to hang up banners around town. So far no one has signed up yet, but she said people often sign up at the last minute. Hammond said she is thinking of offering door prizes for people if they sign up early. There are forms at the Belgrade, Oakland and Sidney town offices, as well as online.

The derby, hosted by the Friends of Messalonskee Watershed, will hold weigh-ins from 10 a.m. to noon and then again from 3 to 5 p.m. at Oakland Memorial Hall. The grand prize for heaviest weighted pike, brown trout or black crappie is $500 and a trophy. All together, there are $3,000 worth of prizes, Hammond said.

The town celebration starts on Friday, July 22, with a parade at 6 p.m. that will go from Messalonskee High School to the boat landing. After the parade, Richard Jandreau, or RJ the DJ, from Sidney, will be the DJ at a street dance on Main Street. During the street dance, there will also be a beer garden, and hots dogs and dough boys will be served by the Oakland Lions Club, which is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, as well as other vendors, including the Dancing Elephant, Buddies Grocery and Crazy Spuds.

The Oakland Downtown Business Committee has challenged downtown stores to decorate their storefronts, and Jandreau will be announcing the first-, second- and third-prize winners on Friday.

The subcommittee dedicated to Friday events is contacting vendors for last-minute placement and making sure everything is in place, committee member Max Marston said at the meeting.

On Saturday the Oakland Baptist Church is hosting a pancake breakfast from 7 to 11 a.m. at the church.

At 10 a.m., the Open Air Market will open until 4 p.m. This year the committee has vendors from as far away as New Hampshire. Bands will start playing at 10 a.m., beginning with The Values, a modern rock band made up of local high schoolers, followed by jazz, swing and rock music from The Scott Davis Band. At 7 p.m. the Boneheads, a local band that plays Americana and roots music, will start playing until 10 p.m.

The Paddle, Pedal and Pound the Pavement Triathlon begins at 9 a.m. Sunday starting at the boat landing on Messalonskee Lake, where participants will paddle out to Brown’s Island and back. Next, they will bike 12 miles through town before coming back to the boat landing to run a 3.1-mile loop through the trails behind the middle school. Holly MacKenzie, who won the title of the strongest woman in Maine in 2012, is the host of the triathlon and chairwoman of the subcommittee.

Madeline St. Amour — 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour

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