2nd annual Maine Needham Festival in Wiscasset this fall

Fri, 06/14/2024 - 8:45am

    Maine Tasting Center, 506 Old Bath Road, Wiscasset will host the 2nd annual Maine Needham Festival on Saturday, Sept. 28. This family-friendly event, free to attend, celebrates the cultural and culinary tradition of Maine Needhams with food, games, vendors, themed drink specials, Needham-making demonstrations and classes, and even a homemade Needham contest. Needhams, also known as “potato candy,” are a traditional Maine candy consisting of a coconut and potato filling covered in chocolate. With a history dating back over 150 years, Needhams have long been one of Maine’s favorite sweet treats.

    Last year, Gov. Janet Mills signed a bill that designated the last Saturday of September as Maine Needham Day, an annual day of commemoration for this historic treat and the small businesses that have kept it going for well over a century. Motivated by this official recognition, Malaika and Gerard Picard, owners of Maine Needham Company in Saco, partnered with Sara Gross of Wiscasset’s Maine Tasting Center to plan the first festival to celebrate Maine Needham Day. This year, the planning committee has grown to include Kristen Fraizer of Wilbur’s of Maine in Freeport and Bob and Kate Gartland of Robin’s Confections in Biddeford.

    The festival is intended to be a day of celebration for the culinary tradition of the Maine Needham, Maine potatoes and Maine itself. “There are many candymakers here in Maine that carry on the Needham tradition and we’re thrilled to have so many of them participating in the festival – as vendors, sponsors, and even as judges for our homemade Needham contest,” said festival coordinator and Maine Needham Company owner Malaika Picard. Wilbur’s of Maine and Robin’s Confections are two such candymakers, who will both be participating as vendors, judges and sponsors of the event.

    Maine Tasting Center is proud to, once again, host the festival on its newly renovated campus. “Our entire purpose is to educate about and promote Maine’s food industries and producers, so participating in this event was an easy decision for us,” said General Manager Sara Gross. “We’re really excited to help bring this community celebration to life.” Amongst the festival’s many attractions will be Needham-making demonstrations led by Maine Tasting Center Culinary Director Liz Gross, and the debut of a specialty Needham-inspired brew by Blaze Brewing Company of Biddeford, in the campus Tasting Room. Other attractions include local artisans and vendors, live music by Isaac Boll and Jud Caswell, food trucks, and much more. Planning for the festival is well underway but additional support is needed to make it the best it can be. The committee continues to seek sponsors, vendors, volunteers and homemade Needham contest competitors. Interested in participating in one of these ways? Learn more and sign up at MENeedhamFest.com

    Thanks to its generous sponsors, the 2nd Annual Maine Needham Festival will be free to attend! There will be a limited amount of parking available on-site as well as satellite parking at a nearby location with shuttle service to and from the event throughout the day.