BANGOR- Hundreds of vendors- thousands of people- in one place. That’s the scene at the Cross Insurance Center at the 5th annual Maine Harvest Festival.
“I think it’s a great event that everyone in the state appreciates so we definitely appreciate the support that everyone gives it,” said Tiffany Sun, the director of marketing in the Cross Insurance Center.
The event was voted the fifth best festival in the nation by USA Today, and it’s easy to see why. All types of displays from soaps, to foods, to wine, to live demonstrations, and even instruments. While the available products vary, they all have one thing in common- it’s all Maine made.
“It’s got Maine produced products only. You’ve got fiber artisans, you’ve got cooks, you’ve got chefs, you’ve got homemade soaps. Everything that’s made and Maine and produced, it’s here,” said Sun.
One vendor’s item keeping people flocking was Grey Goose Gourmet Pepper Jelly.
“I started the pepper jelly business about a year and a half ago. I took my mothers original recipe that she gave to me 20-25 years ago and it’s really my base. My children encourage me and say ‘Mom, why don’t you make that mango pepper jelly you keep talking about?’ And I started to experiment and it has just grown from there,” said Sandra Dwight-Barris, the owner of Grey Goose Gourmet Pepper Jelly.
Sandra’s 15 varieties of pepper jelly are made from her home in Wayne. Most of the ingredients used to make these tasty delights are from nearby farmers.
“I believe in all recycling sustainability and helping the farmers. I love farming, I did a little as I was just a young child growing up, I just love that whole idea,” said Dwight-Barris.
She loves how shows like this promote small local businesses, crediting the exposure for helping her business take off.
“We happened upon this last year at the last minute, and we heard a few things about it so we came and we were just blown away. It’s done beautifully. It’s one of the only foodie shows in the state, at least at this magnitude, and it’s been great for our business. It’s getting the word out there and people are loving it,” said Dwight-Barris.
For some, loving it might be an understatement.
“Oh my gosh, it’s great. We come every year. So we pre-bought our tickets this year to make sure that we could get in. It’s awesome,” said one shopper.
“Having a wonderful time. A lot of nice vendors, and it’s nice to see local companies here as far as representing the state of Maine,” said another.
“We’re Maine folks and we like to keep our business in Maine, and the Maine products are great. Maine grown food is the best so it’s a big deal to us.”
“I’ve got to tell you it’s one of the best festivals I’ve ever gone to. It’s just really good and people are so happy and friendly and I love all the samples and i love just being able to walk around and actually meet all the people that make that food that you’re buying right then and there. It’s just great.”
The festival will continue tomorrow at the Cross Insurance Center from ten until four. Tickets are only eight dollars.