GRAND LAKE STREAM — Organizers of the Grand Lake Stream Folk Art Festival have officially pulled the plug on this year’s festival following Gov. Mills’ news conference on April 28, in which she announced that no gatherings could be held in the state of Maine with more than 50 people until at least the first of September, to ensure the health and safety of residents during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. This year’s festival was planned for July 25-26.
Bill and Cathy Shamel, two of the festival founders and organizers for the past 26 years, contacted exhibitors and musicians this past week to inform them of the difficult decision. To hold off on a decision any longer, would have presented challenges with insurance and the various contractors who supply the festival with tents and other essentials. The Shamels, along with other festival committee members and benefactors, decided it was best to make the final decision now versus holding out hope for restrictions to be relaxed and having to pull plans together in a short time frame. They assure the many dedicated fans of the festival that they intend to move forward with plans for the 2021 festival on the weekend of July 24-25.
The heartfelt message from the Shamels to festival exhibitors read, “We genuinely think of all of you as family and we will miss our time together this summer more than words can convey. Our weekend together with you is the highlight of our year. Please be safe.”
With many long-time participants and attendees, this annual festival 10 miles into the wilderness off U.S. Route 1 in downeast Maine has grown to be one of the more successful small art and music festivals in New England. Visitors are drawn to the beauty of the area and its unique cultural heritage, and the festival celebrates it all with music, folk art, crafts, historical displays, and local culinary favorites. It also brings a mid-summer economic boost to this quaint village in Washington County, primarily known as a haven for outdoor sporting enthusiasts.
Folks who planned to attend this year are encouraged to follow the festival’s Facebook page for updates throughout the year. Festival vendors may be contacted online to order products and contact information for most vendors is available by sending a Facebook message or via email on the website at grandlakestreamfolkartfestival.com.