Maine red hot dogs were served up by the thousands in Dexter over the weekend for the inaugural festival celebrating the item. Credit: Stuart Hedstrom / Piscataquis Observer

DEXTER, Maine — Maine’s annual Red Hot Dog Festival is returning to downtown Dexter on Aug. 13, expecting to draw somewhere between 5,000 and 7,000 people.

The Dexter Revitalization Committee has been in planning mode, lining up bands and stars from the reality TV show “Maine Cabin Masters,” Town Manager Trampas King said during a town council meeting last week. The show chronicles the restoration and renovation of cabins in Maine.

“I don’t know if you guys have ever watched the show,” King said. “They’re going to be there. That’s going to be our big draw, hopefully.”

After a two-year hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic, the festival, packed full of activities including hot dog contests, food and drinks from a variety of vendors, live music and children’s activities, will return this summer. The festival — in its fifth year — is set for 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Aug. 13. Event planners are seeking volunteers and vendors; they can apply on the event website.

“We’re really excited about it,” King said. “We’re also kind of nervous. It’ll be three years since we’ve had it. People love it.”

August is also class reunion time in Dexter, so the town is hoping that event may draw some people to the festival, said King, who serves on the revitalization committee.

Popular events at the upcoming festival include the 5K Bun Run in the morning and a hot dog eating contest in the early afternoon. Bands performing live music will include the Calypso Soldiers, Ray Stafford Trio, The Breakers and others, King said.

Admission to the event, meant to draw more people to Dexter to celebrate food and fun, is free. The revitalization committee and Maine Highlands Credit Union are sponsoring the event.