Big Plans Continue for International Homecoming Festival 2015

By Jayna Smith

The US planning sub-committee of International Homecoming Festival recently met for the second time to discuss plans for the 2015 event. The group has increased from last year's three volunteers to seven and has already made great progress.

After shortening the annual festival from ten-days to four last year, the group reported that the 2015 International Homecoming Festival will now increase to five days to include Wednesday of "festival week."  The celebration--now in its 42nd year--will begin on Wednesday, August 5th to again include popular events such as the Fire Department Association's street dance.  Concluding on Sunday, August 9th, the festival will end with a "bang" with the Duty Free America - Hardwicke's Fireworks Display over the St. Croix River.

Returning to the list of events on the waterfront this year will be the inflatables, petting zoo, candy scramble, large arts and crafts fair, food vendors, and live music, among many others.  New to the list will be laser tag for people of all ages, a sidewalk chalk art contest, and more. The committee hopes to make all of the events free or very low cost for families to attend.  

With the grand parade beginning on the Calais side this year on Saturday, August 8th, the group will be agreeing on a theme for the event as well as a Grand Marshal to lead the parade.  They are also in search of an organization to organize the parade from its starting location in the vicinity of Barker Street.

Also scheduled for "parade day" is a performance by the 195th Army Band, organized by Dick Barnard of St. Croix No. 1 Fire House Restoration Committee, and the St. Croix Valley Chamber of Commerce's Annual Street Fair.  The street fair will surely liven up Main Street with vendors selling food and other novelty items.  

It is with support from the local merchants, civic groups, organizations, and citizens that the International Homecoming Festival Committee is able to continue the celebration of friendship between the two international communities of Calais, Maine and St. Stephen, New Brunswick. The all-volunteer group relies on donations to bring the celebration year after year.  Large costs to the committee are event listing brochures, parade bands, waterfront activities, and insurance, just to name a few, thus donation request letters will be mailed out soon.  

The committee does have three upcoming fundraisers planned.  On Saturday, May 16th, a motorcycle run will leave from Calais, travel to Eastport, then make its way back to Calais.  This expects to bring sixty or more motorcycles to town while raising needed funds for the committee.  Also planned is an 80s-themed dance party at the Calais Motor Inn on May 23rd.  80s attire is encouraged, although not necessary.  The dance is open to anyone at least 21 years of age and admission is by donation.  On Saturday, June 13th, committee members and friends will be found on South Street for the annual voluntary road toll.  


Details on the fundraising events can be found on the International Homecoming Festival Facebook page or by emailing  Donations can also be mailed to IHF Committee, PO Box 1012, Calais, ME  04619.