NORWAY — Festivals are a summertime staple and nowhere is that more the case than in Vacationland.

However, many organizers and nonprofits have already pulled the plug on their plans this year. Some performing arts groups have canceled their entire season.

Some events cannot comply with public gathering restrictions as outlined in Gov. Janet Mills’ plans for reopening the state’s economy. And more called off events earlier this spring when the only thing that was clear is the precarious state organizers were operating under.

In Oxford Hills, many annual events have already been canceled: The second Made in Maine Festival at the Oxford Fair Grounds has been postponed until June 2021. The Norway Music & Arts Festival scheduled for July 11 has been canceled. The Waterford World’s Fair, set to run in July, was called off along with several other Maine agricultural events. September’s Oxford County Fair, along with other autumn fairs, has not been canceled.

The Norway Food Festival’s organizers are on the fence about their Aug. 8 Longley Square event.

Some organizers are still committed to holding their events, in whatever capacity is possible. The Norway Triathlon announced the competition will be a virtual one.

“Norway Triathlon Committee has made the decision to change the 2020 Norway Tri scheduled for July 11 to a virtual event, taking place from July 10 to July 20,” Western Maine Foot Hills Land Trust Director Lee Dassler said. “This year, participants (individuals, families, or as teams) in the Norway Tri will swim, run and bike wherever they chose, wherever they are. They can be a part of it no matter where they are located.

“The committee is still working out all the details, so we ask that people visit www.norwaytri.com for additional information over the next few weeks.”

All proceeds will benefit the Western Foothills Land Trust and will go toward maintenance and improvements of its trails and trail heads.

“Public access to trails has never been more important than this spring as our families and communities have dealt with staying healthy while sheltering in place,” Dassler said. “We will miss seeing the community coming out to cheer the competitors, but the race will still take place, just virtually.”

Hannah Gentempo performs at the Norway Music & Arts Festival in 2018. Creative Norway is holding a performing arts celebration on Main Street in Norway on June 6 while practicing social distancing. Creative Norway photo

Mooving On Productions, which organizes several western Maine festivals has canceled the Norway Music & Arts Festival scheduled for July 11 but is planning a new performing arts event for Main Street Norway that adheres to social distancing.

Organizer Jonathan Leavitt said the Creative RE.EMERGEncy will be held Saturday, June 6, at noontime. It is being co-sponsored by Oxford Federal Credit Union and Dirigo Federal Credit Union.

“We want to support performing artists during a time when they cannot practice their craft before an audience. This will help them connect to the public,” Leavitt said. “Artists can come to Norway and perform on the sidewalk for those who are passing by.

“All mediums are welcome to join, from fine to fringe art. They just need to maintain the proper social distance. Anyone who wants to participate should contact us at Creative Norway to reserve their ‘space on the street,’” Leavitt said.

He said Creative Norway is holding out hope that events scheduled for later in the summer and fall will not have to be sidelined. The annual Burlesque Benefit is still on for Aug. 7. And Leavitt is forging ahead with his play, “An Evening at Dave’s Sauna,” to be shown on Oct. 15, 16 and 17.

“I still need to fill a couple of small roles in the play,” Leavitt said. “It is about is a legend around these parts and his story/sauna story is an interesting one.”

 

Mountain Poets Society at the Norway Music and Arts Festival 2018. There will be no poetry gatherings this year with the festival cancelled. Supplied image

Debra Partridge, Norway’s recreation director, said she hopes the entire season will not be lost.

“We encourage people to use the community facilities in Norway,” she said. “They are open and available. The docks have been put in for water recreation. Everyone needs to maintain social distancing when they are there.”

Little League softball and baseball are on hold but not canceled. The leagues are part of a broader league and towns throughout Maine are waiting for decisions, dates and guidelines to be released.

Swimming lessons, which take place outside, may be delayed but are still scheduled to take place starting in June.

In Harrison, Recreation Director Kayla Laird said she is accepting registrations for the summer program.

“We have canceled all field trips for the summer,” she said. “But even though the trips are canceled, we will still hold rec on those days. We plan to make Tuesday’s a little extra special as we know how fun those days are.”

Laird said she is working to complete refunds for those who signed up for any field trips. She said participants can also apply refunds to their rec program balances and should reach out to her by email with any questions and to communicate their preference.

Final approval for the summer recreation program is forthcoming from the state of Maine and she will announce its official opening day as soon as she is able.

Oxford’s Recreation Department has not made any official announcements about summer plans. The Station House Community Center has been closed to the public since March. It will be leased to Oxford School Age Child Care & Preschool for its summer programs from June until August. Recreation Director Patty Hesse will provide updates about Recreation Department’s summer plans after June 1.


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