A big weekend in Fort Kent as the 22nd annual Can-Am Crown Sled Dog Races took place. It’s an event that attracts a lot of people and boosted business for the St. John Valley Community. News Source 8’s Angela Christoforos reports…
5..4..3..2…1… and they’re off! It’s the 22nd annual Can-Am Crown Sled Dog races and despite the freezing cold it doesn’t stop the crowds or dogs from coming out. It’s one of the biggest events in Fort Kent that attracts people from different parts of the state and even the country.
Ben Hague from NYC said, “First time ever up here at the Can-Am games. Nice little buzz in the town I mean it’s 7 o’clock in the morning and like the whole town is out here so it’s pretty neat.”
This 250 mile race of more than a dozen sled dog teams gets spectators to come back year after year.
Fort Kent Resident Blair Pelletier said, “Pretty much almost every year of my life.”
Big crowds means increased spending. By 8 am over 300 people had already walked through the door at the Circle K Irving.
Fort Kent Circle K Irving Assistant Manager Kelly Stover said, “We’ve sold a lot of coffee, anything warm. It’s good, good for business.”
Subway was another busy spot; located right in front of the starting point. Rock’s Family Diner also saw hundreds of people.
Rock’s Family Diner owner Peter Pinette said, “For this time of year this is definitely a good boost for us because it’s normally the slower time summers always the better time for us but this definitely is a good boost to the economy.”
In the past, the Can-Am has attracted crowds of up to 7 thousand people.
President of the Can-Am Crown Beurmond Banville said, “Numbers are down a little bit because it’s so cold. But the numbers have been coming up a little bit in the last half hour to 45 minutes so people are coming out anyway.”
Democratic Senator Troy Jackson said, “It shows the spirit of the people in Aroostook County, the St, John Valley.”
The temperatures were very cold during the sled dog races; but the Fort Kent community was warm and welcoming.
Democratic Congressman Mike Michaud said, “Just very down to earth people you don’t see that in a lot of different areas, but up in the Valley people are so friendly and it just keeps encouraging people to come back year after year.”
The President of the Can-Am Crown also said that attendance numbers may have been down this year due to the IBU Youth/Junior World Championships Biathlon taking place during the same weekend, but regardless overall turn out was still good.