Maine Fare, a food festival in Belfast that celebrates Maine food, farmers and fishermen, has been canceled.

But it could return in the fall in a different format, according to Ellen Sabina, outreach director at the Maine Farmland Trust, which sponsored the event along with the Penobscot East Resource Center in Stonington.

The organization and logistics of the festival, held the last weekend in June, got to be too much for a small staff to handle, Sabina said. The two sponsoring organizations also began to question whether Maine Fare was effective in its current form given the many other food festivals and farm-to-table events around the state.

Sabina said the Maine Farmland Trust is considering organizing an event that helps people dig deeper into issues surrounding Maine’s food system so that fairgoers walk away with more than just a good meal and a good time.

“We’re not doing the festival, but it’s going to live on in some other form,” Sabina said. “We’re not really sure exactly what it will look like yet, but something will happen in fall.”

Maine Fare was founded in 2006 in Camden by a loose-knit group of food lovers, but was canceled after a couple of years because of problems with the venue. In 2012, organizers turned the festival over to the Maine Farmland Trust, thinking the event would benefit from more structure. In 2014, the Penobscot East Resource Center in Stonington came on board as co-host of the event.

Last year, about 3,000 people attended Maine Fare at the Belfast Boathouse at Steamboat Landing Park. The festival included a sourdough bread baking class, a food market showcasing artisanal products, a seafood throwdown featuring local chefs and a more serious forum on the future of Maine food. Two pop-up events in Portland – a five-course seaweed dinner at Vinland and a sampling of local hard ciders at the Deering Grange Hall – took place in conjunction with the festival.

Sabina said canceling this year’s festival was a difficult decision because so many people look forward to it.

She added that the staff is already tossing around ideas for the next incarnation of Maine Fare.

“We’re definitely not shelving it yet,” she said.

Meredith Goad can be contacted at 791-6332 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: MeredithGoad

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