FORT KENT, Maine — The streets of downtown Fort Kent will once again fill up next weekend with those seeking enormous fish and a gigantic ploye.

The 23rd annual Ploye Festival and the 2016 Fort Kent International Muskie Derby are scheduled to take place Aug. 11-14.

“There’s a lot going on around town that weekend,” said Dona Saucier, executive director of the Greater Fort Kent Chamber of Commerce. “We always look forward to the festival … It brings people together. There are always family gatherings and reunions.”

A Youth Ministry garage sale in the St. Louis Catholic Church parking lot kicks off the activities on Thursday and continues through Saturday. Also on Thursday, the Fort Kent Lions and the local Boy Scout troop are having their annual chicken barbecue fundraiser from 4:30 to 6 p.m. at Riverside Park. Riverside will also be the site of a large arts and crafts fair during the day.

Beginning Friday and through the weekend, various businesses and vendors will be offering ployes — a cross between a crepe and a pancake made with buckwheat flour — for which the festival is named and celebrated.

“If you have a hankering for ployes, this is the place to be,” Saucier said.

Among the activities will be a ploye-eating contest for kids from 5 to 6 p.m. Friday at Riverside Park.

Then at 6 p.m. at the same location, the Bouchard Family Farm will once again fire up its custom cooking system for making what organizers describe as the world’s largest ploye.

The day will conclude with a combined Fort Kent/Clair, New Brunswick, fireworks display over the St. John River. Clair is celebrating its 50th anniversary and Saucier expects the fireworks display to be particularly exciting this year.

Musical entertainment and numerous activities are scheduled Friday through Sunday to also coincide with the annual Fort Kent International Muskie Derby.

With more than 200 miles of prime muskie habitat along the St. John River, many anglers agree that the St. John Valley is an ideal spot for hooking the large, freshwater predator.

The $35,000 total purse attracts hundreds of anglers from the area and beyond. Jesse Jalbert, one of the derby organizers, said he has seen increasing numbers of out-of-town anglers entering the contest.

The derby opens 9 a.m. Friday, Aug. 12, and closes at 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 14. Those wanting to enter can register online or at derby headquarters until 11 a.m. Saturday. Registration fees are $40 for adults and $20 for children under 16.

Derby headquarters and the official weigh station will be located at S.W. Collins Outdoors, formerly Quigley’s Outdoors. This year, however, anglers at the eastern end of the St. John Valley can weigh their fish at the Grand Isle General store, which is one of the derby sponsors. Both weigh stations will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

Jalbert said it is hard to predict how the fishing will be this year. “I have heard there have been quite a few nice fish caught this year already,” he said. “We will have to see how it goes.”

Along with the derby purse for largest muskie and bass, participants have opportunities for extra cash and prizes through various drawings.

Eligible waters include portions of the St. John River west, or upstream from Grand Falls, and all its tributaries. The minimum length muskie anglers can submit is 38 inches.

Jalbert cautioned all derby participants to be aware of Maine Inland Fisheries and Wildlife fishing regulations, some of which may have changed in 2016.

The Derby began in 2003 to showcase a new fishery. It has brought attention to the region, and has been featured on television shows such as ESPN 2’s “Beat Charlie Moore.”

Derby weigh stations also draw the attention of non-anglers, who want to see a river monster up close and personal. The ringing bell signifies to all around that another fish is ready to be measured and weighed.

For more information about the fishing derby, visit

For a full Ploye Festival schedule, visit