DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — The fourth annual Maine Whoopie Pie Festival aims to be the biggest one yet.

The festival on Saturday, June 23, starts with a Earn Your Whoopie Pie 3K run/walk at 8:30 a.m., followed by a 1K fun run at 8:45 a.m. A scavenger hunt called the Amazing Whoopie Pie Race begins at 10 a.m. Vendors, artists and other events also begin at 10 a.m.

“As the festival has grown, we’ve tried to provide more activities for kids and families,” said organizer Patrick Myers in a statement.

A rummage sale and a farmers market will be set up nearby. The town’s Kiwanis Park will have a free children’s fishing event as well. A 25-foot tall climbing wall, a bungee jumping ride and a bounce house have also been added for this year’s event.

In 2009, the event’s first year, about 600 people showed up. The next year, it grew to 3,000 visitors. Rain dampened last year, with 2,000 visitors.

“We have whoopie pie-eating contests, old-fashioned games and activities for the kids organized by the YMCA, balloon animals, face painting, a magic show by Maine magician Conjuring Carroll and then there are the rides,” said Myers.

Samples of whoopie pies will be available from vendors including Governor’s Restaurant, Labree’s Bakery and other businesses and some home bakers.

Myers said he recognizes that Maine’s official state treat carries certain health risks if eaten too much.

“We certainly are not lobbying to have the whoopie pie included in the government’s food pyramid and we know there is no ‘daily recommended allowance’ of whoopie pie,” said Myers. “However, we also believe that it is just fine to take one day out of the year to celebrate this uniquely Maine treat and enjoy something that is quintessentially Maine.”

The festival takes place on River Street in downtown Dover-Foxcroft and runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $5. Kids 12 and under get in for free.

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