OAKLAND — Humid weather and the threat of rain didn’t deter hundreds from turning out for the fourth annual OakFest on Saturday, with people turning out for live music, vendors, a parade and other events.

OakFest, which began Friday and concludes on Sunday, is an event that benefits the community. Friday kicked off with local artisans displaying their work under a tent, which was followed by a parade. The 25 floats, which include go-karts and representatives from local businesses, began at Williams Elementary School and weaved down Pleasant Street, Main Street and Church Street, ending at the boat landing on Old Belgrade Road. The parade honored first responders, including police officers, firefighters and Delta emergency medical technicians.

The annual street dance followed the parade, with live music, from RJ the DJ and The Rockit Band, a classic rock group.

Saturday’s event also featured live music, with several people packed underneath tents to keep cool. Several vendor tents also peppered the lawn of the Williams Elementary School, where the event was held. Kathy Paradis, chair of OakFest, said this year had a great turnout, despite the possibility of rain. She said every year turnout becomes better, and though this year started slow, many came out later. This year, she said three bands were playing, which is a first for OakFest, as well as having the 20th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment present to fire off their cannon.

Saturday’s events featured more than 60 vendors, and three bands, Camp Manitou, Big E and the Hopefuls and country group Merry-Go-Roundup. New to the festivities on Saturday was also a classic car show.

Saturday’s OakFest celebration was also a partnership with the ShineOnCass Foundation, holding an event-long food drive for the Oakland Food Pantry. Staff photo by Colin Ellis

The three-day event will conclude with the Paddle, Pedal, Pound the Pavement triathlon Sunday morning. The course begins with a 2.5-mile canoe or kayak paddle loop on Messalonskee Lake, continues on a 12-mile bike loop from the boat landing to Route 23 and back to Oak Street and ends with a 3.1-mile run from the boat landing, through town and around trails behind the middle school back to the boat landing.

Competitors will be responsible for their own canoe or kayak, and bike.

Town Manager Gary Bowman said OakFest is a huge plus for the community, as it brings many people to Oakland. It is also valuable, he said, since its brings people in huge droves.

“It’s huge to Oakland,” he said.

Bowman said OakFest helps bring a lot of revenue into the town. He didn’t know how many people were in attendance on Saturday, but said it brings in people from out of town who otherwise wouldn’t have stopped in Oakland. These events, and the new people coming into town, are good for the community, Bowman said.

“Things are changing,” he said.

Saturday was also a partnership between OakFest and the ShineOnCass Foundation for the first “ShineOn Oakland Day,” an event-long food drive for the Oakland Food Pantry, in which parade goers and others were encouraged to bring boxes of cereal to the celebration to help children in need.

Colin Ellis — 861-9253

[email protected]

Twitter: @colinoellis

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