In this June 26, 2018, file photo, entrants in the youth whoopie pie eating contest put their hands into the air before the eating begins. Credit: Stuart Hedstrom / Piscataquis Observer

The Maine Whoopie Pie Festival will be held again in person this fall — if COVID-19 transmission is brought under control.

Festival organizers announced Monday that the summertime tradition, which annually drew thousands to Piscataquis County for a bite of the state’s official treat, will instead be held on Oct. 2.

“It has become a summer tradition, but having it in the fall seems to give us the best chance to have an in-person festival,” Denise Buzzelli, director of the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce and a festival organizer, said Monday.

The 2020 edition of the festival was moved online and held throughout October when pandemic restrictions made its return on June 27 impossible. At that time, public gatherings were severely curtailed to limit coronavirus transmission and no vaccines were yet being widely distributed.

Now the state is ramping up vaccine distribution, with more than 200,000 Mainers having received at least one dose. The state plans to begin vaccinating people 65 years old and older in March and more frontline workers, though some details have yet to be firmed.

The date change isn’t the only adjustment being made as organizers plan for the festival’s return.

“For the first time, we will be holding the festival at the Piscataquis Valley Fairgrounds, instead of in downtown Dover-Foxcroft,” said Patrick Myers, one of the festival organizers. “The fairgrounds should allow us to spread out and give us the flexibility we need to follow whatever guidelines are in place at that time.”

The festival includes live music, vendors, art and crafts, rides and games, and thousands of sugary treats. It is the largest annual fundraiser for the Center Theatre for the Performing Arts and the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce.