Maine Whoopie Pie Festival canceled due to COVID
DOVER-FOXCROFT — The Center Theatre announced on Sept. 2 that it is canceling the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in Piscataquis County. The festival, which celebrates the taste of Maine’s Official State Treat, was to be held on Saturday, Oct. 2 at the Piscataquis Valley Fairgrounds.
“This is not a decision we made lightly or happily,” said Patrick Myers, executive director of the Center Theatre and one of the organizers of the event. “We had planned to have the festival at the fairgrounds to give us the best chance to have it safely, but we have been watching the steep increase in cases in our community. After discussing the conditions with Northern Light Mayo Hospital, the Center Theatre Board of Directors decided that the only responsible decision was to cancel the festival.”
Piscataquis County has the highest percentage of positive COVID tests in the state over the 14 days leading to the announcement (9.5 percent) and the highest rate of cases per 10,000 (50.64). The county also has the second lowest rate of people who have received their final dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, at only 58.72 percent, according to the Maine CDC website.
Marie Vienneau, president of Northern Light Mayo Hospital stated, “Given the recent increase in the COVID-19 positivity rate, NL Mayo Hospital leadership encouraged and are supportive of the decision to cancel the Maine Whoopie Pie Festival this year. In recent weeks, our numbers have exceeded the surge we saw last January. The Delta variant is making a big impact, especially in our county. It is more important now than ever that we remain vigilant by avoiding large group gatherings, masking when indoors, and considering the vaccination. We are as sad to see this event cancelled as many of you are but the health and well-being of our community remains our top priority.”
When asked about plans for the festival in 2022, Denise Buzzelli, executive director of the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce, said they have had some preliminary discussions.
“We are hoping to go back to the usual schedule for the festival and hold it on June 25, 2022,” she said. “We’ll make more plans once we get into the new year.”
The Maine Whoopie Pie Festival is the largest annual fundraiser for both the Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce and the Center Theatre for the Performing Arts. The mission of the Center Theatre is to make arts, education, and entertainment accessible to their rural communities to engage and inspire. The Piscataquis Chamber of Commerce works to strengthen and advance the economic vitality of Piscataquis Valley through promotion, advocacy, collaboration and support for its businesses, communities and future leaders.