The Hallowell Woodstock and Arts Festival returns Sunday after two years of pandemic-related cancellations. Courtesy of Ruth LaChance

HALLOWELL — Woodstock will return to Maine this weekend as the Hallowell Woodstock and Arts Festival makes its comeback after a two-year hiatus because of the pandemic.

Put on by the Hallowell Area Board of Trade, the event will include an art walk with 28 craft vendors and will exclusively feature music performed at the original 1969 event, as an ode to the famed music festival in Bethel, New York.

This year’s Hallowell Woodstock and Arts Festival poster was designed by Chris Cart. Ruth LaChance

Ruth LaChance, co-founder of the event, said that in 2015 the idea came to her and her husband after talking with their friend, Bob Collwell, who had just come back from Quebec City. Collwell was amazed at the number of events that went on in the Canadian city on a daily, and weekly, basis.

They decided to bring a similar spirit to Hallowell, but after Old Hallowell Day, which is held annually in July.

“We knew the original one (Woodstock) in 1969 took place on the third Saturday in August, so it was the date and we wanted the middle of August so the city could have a break after Old Hallowell Day and the downtown shops could regroup,” LaChance said. “It really has to do with the date and Bob (Collwell) and I loving the music from that age.”

The musical part of the festival is organized by Collwell and will feature around 25 performers taking the Granite City Park stage from 2 to 6 p.m.

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Even though the event started before the pandemic, the theme of “peace and love” that comes with the idea of Woodstock fits with the message organizers would like to send out and that it “fits the vibe” of the city.

“We want to send the message of peace to everyone — Democrat, Republican, independent, whatever you are, everyone wants peace no matter what, no one wants conflict,” LaChance said.

The arts and craft portion of the event will start at noon on Sunday with the music to begin at 2 p.m. LaChance said there will be no food vendors at the event because people are encouraged to eat at the local restaurants in the city.

For more information, visit the Hallowell Woodstock and Arts Festival Facebook event page.

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