Hot dogs, cotton candy, fried dough. While these foods might lead to upset stomachs and tooth decay, they are standard fare on summer festival menus.

The 350th anniversary celebration in Scarborough is no different. However, there is one distinction. Event Planner Judi Clancy wants all the food to be sold by Scarborough nonprofit organizations.

“It’s a great opportunity to raise money,” Clancy said, listing some of the popular selling items as homemade pies, burgers, and popcorn. “Also, anything fried,” she added.

While four commercial vendors have approached her, Clancy said she’s waiting until she sees how many nonprofits sign up before she’ll allow for-profits to work the festival.

“And creative ideas are welcome,” she said. If organizations wanted to have a booth but don’t want to cook food, then there are lots of things to do, like arts and crafts or interactive games, and some organizations may just want to man a booth to increase their visibility to the public.

One non-profit is taking on both challenges – food and games. Project GRACE, a nonprofit organization that offers financial assistance to local families, will be offering a children’s game called Project Race and face painting. In addition, they will be cooking steak roll-ups and barbecue ribs.

Sam Kelley, vice president for Project GRACE, said he and several volunteers already held a preliminary taste test for the roll-ups, which take only 30 seconds to make.

“They’re very quick, but they’re very good,” Kelley said.

Although Kelley said he has heard other nonprofits are worried about staffing booths for the two-day commitment, he said he thinks enough people will volunteer.

“It’s not going to be easy, but you’ve just got to do it,” Kelley said. “Everyone just has to work a little harder.”

Kelley, who also owns MBI Trailers in Scarborough, said nonprofits should think about the time commitment as a benefit instead of a problem. Many nonprofits work Summerfest, and go through the same amount of preparation with only four hours to make money, he said. With the 350th anniversary celebration, there will be two full days to sell food.

Karen Packhem, founder and volunteer of Project GRACE, said she agrees with Kelley.

“If the event is four times as long, you make four times the money,” she said.

Clancy suggested that if nonprofits are very worried about the time commitment, then they should split the booth with another non-profit – one organization sells doughnuts Saturday, another sells breadsticks Sunday.

It’s important that all Scarborough nonprofits know that they can participate in the festival, Clancy said. She hopes to get the word out to as many organizations as possible. Although the first day to register for a booth was April 1, Clancy said she only has around 40 nonprofit contacts for 60 available booths and she’ll be accepting applications until all the spaces have been filled.

“The most important thing is that we don’t leave anyone out,” she said.

Although there was some concern voiced by potential vendors about selling the same type of food as another vendor, Clancy said they would work it out so everybody could sell what they wanted. The Scarborough 350th Anniversary Committee will coordinate vendors so that they are in direct competition with one another.

All of the booths will be located at the Sports Complex in Scarborough for Saturday and Sunday of the 350th festival, although there will be a setup time Friday night. The town will provide the space and electricity. However, non-profits will be expected to provide tables, equipment, and insurance.

While the event is expected to draw more than 20,000 people, and the hours may be long, but Clancy thinks the benefits to participating outweigh the costs by far.

“It’s different, but it’s doable,” she said.

Karen Packhem founded Project GRACE in 1998. The non-profit organization assists Scarborough residents who have financial difficulties. Sam Kelley has been the vice president of Project GRACE in Scarborough for six years. “We like doing things like this,” Kelley said about the anniversary celebration.g

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.