Two of Maine’s largest and most popular agricultural fairs are still mulling whether to hold their fall festivals or cancel the celebrations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Fryeburg Fair and the Common Ground Country Fair in Unity have each issued statements explaining the factors that will go into their decisions.

The Maine Association of Agricultural Fairs this weekend reported that at least nine of Maine’s 25 agricultural fairs will cancel this year in response to the COVID-19 crisis. Among those canceling were the Acton Fair, the Houlton Agricultural Fair and the Topsham Fair.

But Fryeburg and Common Ground were not among the fairs that have made final decisions, and organizers of both fairs said they are still holding out hope that they won’t have to be canceled.

“The West Oxford Agricultural Society is hopeful that we will be able to host the annual Fryeburg Fair for the 2020 season (October 4-11),” Fryeburg Fair said in a statement on its website.

Fair organizers said they will continue to closely monitor the pandemic and will follow the guidelines set forth by local and state authorities. All large events and mass gatherings are limited to less than 10 persons through June.

“We understand the need to minimize any additional financial or social impacts this decision will have on the many businesses and organizations that participate,” Fryeburg Fair said. “We are tentatively looking at the first part of June to make a decision on whether to proceed with the 2020 fair.

Fryeburg Fair is one of Maine’s oldest and largest agricultural fairs, having operated at its present location since 1885.

Meanwhile, the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association – or MOFGA – said in a statement on its website that it plans to make a decision on whether to stage the 2020 Common Ground Country Fair no later than Aug. 1. This year’s fair is scheduled to be held from Sept. 25-27.

“The August 1 decision date is aimed to let us utilize the full scope of knowledge that will be gained over the next few months in regard to COVID-19 in order to make the best decisions possible,” MOFGA said. “It also gives our exhibitors, volunteers, and fairgoers 55 days notice to allow them to plan and make decisions.”

MOFGA said it is developing contingency plans, covering details of what health protection and safety systems would need to be in place in order for the fair to be held in September.

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