Houlton cancels Blackfly Brewfest amid pandemic concerns

4 years ago

HOULTON, Maine — Beer lovers may experience a particularly dry weekend after organizers of the annual Blackfly Brewfest announced they were canceling this year’s event.


Originally slated for May 16 at the Millar Civic Center, the event was pushed back to Aug. 22, in the hopes that it could still happen. But with coronavirus regulations still in place, organizers concluded that this year’s festival was simply not feasible.

The festival will now be moved to May 15, 2021.

The decision to cancel did not come easily for Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jane Torres. The popular beer festival is one of the largest events the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce sponsors.

“Because of all the [COVID-19] restrictions, I just didn’t see any safe way to hold this event,” Torres said. “We need to sell about 300 tickets to make it [financially] a success. We really depend on the Canadian traffic in that regard. Especially this year, we can’t afford to take a hit on an event.”

The Chamber of Commerce had already sold about 80 VIP tickets for the event, and by the first of August, her office started fielding calls wondering if the event was going to happen. Many of those ticket holders were Canadian citizens, who were unable to cross the border due to the shutdown.

All advanced tickets will be honored at next year’s event, or the ticket holder can ask for a refund by contacting Torres at 207-532-4216.

Torres contacted all of the breweries that had agreed to attend this year, and asked if they would be willing to forego this year’s festival. Every brewer she contacted said they would gladly come back in 2021, she said.