The Unity Barn Raisers, the volunteer organization that puts on the annual Celebrate Unity Festival, have expanded the fest to include events at multiple locations throughout the day.

“This year’s really special,” said Mary Leaming, programs director for the Barn Raisers and lead coordinator for the event, which is Saturday.

This is the town’s third annual celebration, and this year it includes more businesses, more locations and more of the town.

In its first two years, the event included vendors, food and activities at the Field of Dreams for a few hours on a weekend. This year, the Barn Raisers have collaborated more with the town to turn it into a day-long event, starting at 9 a.m. and ending after the sun sets.

“I just thought, ‘Well, why don’t we take the whole day and stagger some events?'” Leaming said.

The family-friendly celebration is open to all and a great way for people to see what Unity is all about, she said.

The day starts at Northern Solstice Alpaca Farm on Crosby Brook Road, where people can get free coffee and doughnuts while learning how to felt soap with alpaca wool.

The Field of Dreams, the community park on Route 9 that’s owned and operated by Unity College but open to the public, will host a number of vendors, food and activities, such as a bounce house, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. A classic car rally will be held at the Village at Depot Crossing at noon.

From 4 until 6 p.m., Younity Winery, a local winery that specializes in unique and flavorful Maine wines, will host a free wine and cheese tasting at its store on Albion Road.

At 7 p.m., country singer Kevin Libby will play at the Performing Arts Center. The event, which costs $20, is sponsored by the radio station 107.9 The Mix.

The variety of events represents a “cross-section of the town,” Leaming said, and lets businesses that couldn’t normally participate in an open festival, like the alpaca farmers, get involved.

“We wanted to make it more inclusive,” she said. The festival attracted a few hundred people last year, and Leaming hopes to double that amount this year with the good weather.

“I want folks to get a glimpse of a few of the many great things that Unity has to offer,” she said.

The Barn Raisers group was formed in 1996 as a response to the needs in the community, Leaming said. Back then, western Waldo County was one of the poorest regions of Maine. The organization worked to revitalize the town’s downtown. Now it continues to cater its programs and projects to the community’s needs, whether that is a community kitchen, a town website or volunteer days, she said.

“It’s an outlet and an opportunity for folks who want to get involved and help their community,” Leaming said. She said she has volunteers ranging from 2 years old to 90.

Unity is lucky to have an organization dedicated to the town that doesn’t have to rely on the municipality, she said. The Barn Raisers mainly relies on volunteers to help put on programs and complete projects for the town. It now has 400 members.

Madeline St. Amour – 861-9239

[email protected]

Twitter: @madelinestamour