Maple Meadow Farm Fest coming together for 10th year

7 years ago

Helping kick off summer in northern Maine, the Maple Meadow Farm Fest returns to Mapleton later this month for its 10th year celebrating the past and present of Aroostook County’s agricultural heritage.

As many as 3,000 people are expected to visit the free, weekend-long festival on Saturday and Sunday, June 24 and 25, said Andrea Gregg.

Gregg helped start the event at the family’s farmstead in 2007, partly due to the curiosity they attracted along the Mapleton Road working their fields with Belgian draft horses.

“We had a lot of folks that would stop by along the side of the road to see our Belgian draft horses. Sometimes it would tie up traffic,” Gregg said.

The ninth annual Maple Meadow Farm Fest in June 2016 hosted food and crafts vendors as well as activities such as sheep shearing (Anthony Brino | Star-Herald)

“We thought maybe we should just invite folks over on a weekend so they can see what we do and maybe have some pie.”

The Gregg’s fifth generation farm is one of a few non-Amish farms in the region using work horses. While they use tractors and other modern equipment too, they use Belgian draft horses for low-impact logging and field work such as plowing and planting — one of several agricultural traditions that the farm fest highlights.

“We had a lot of people attend those first few years. Actually, we were kind of overwhelmed,” Gregg said.

“It’s kind of blossomed from there. We started building the event, increasing demonstrations, vendors, and educational experiences,” Gregg said.

The festival now features a slate of children’s and adult activities, talks and demonstrations, including pony rides, blacksmithing, wood milling and guided walking tours, along with a range of food vendors, including the Greggs’ homemade pies.

Guy Landry of Portage Lake showcased his blacksmithing skills during the Maple Meadow Farm Fest held in Mapleton in June last year. (Michael A. Gudreau | Star-Herald)

This year, Gregg said, the festival is continuing an emphasis on the arts, with an Art and Ag Battle, where six artists will spend an hour painting a farm-inspired piece that will later be auctioned.

There also will be “Open Art,” where people can buy a canvas and paint with guidance from an artist and with the farm and landscape as inspiration, Gregg said. In addition, the festival is hosting an artist in residence, Andrea Powers, who will be doing demonstrations and be featured in an exhibit.

New this year to the demonstrations will be Scythe Supply, the Perry, Maine-based maker of the traditional cutting tools.

The festival at Maple Meadow Farms kicks off at 10 a.m. Saturday, June 24.

“We want it to be a celebration of our agricultural and rural heritage,” Gregg said. “We want people to see not just what we do but what other folks are doing.”