The Star-Herald

Planting seeds for Blossom Fest

As director of the Maine Potato Blossom Festival, I’m excited to announce that we have been awarded $10,000 in grant funding from the Maine Office of Tourism. This grant is targeted as a marketing grant and will enable us to promote the festival in a much broader area overall, which we hope will attract more visitors not only to the festival but to our area as well. 

The grant will be used for advertising in three areas: Advertising — local media, print, Facebook, magazine ads and other promotional opportunities; fulfillment — brochures, flyers, guides, maps and distribution in all state information centers heading north; and photography — hiring a professional photographer to provide photos that can be used to better promote the festival as well as our area. A picture is worth a thousand words and we want to draw visitors to our area by giving them a glimpse of the many tourist attractions available in Aroostook County as well as the beauty of the countryside. 

This grant comes at a vital time for our festival due to the fact we had to cancel the 2020 event, which caused a shortfall in the revenue we could have achieved. This funding will enable us to work towards the success of the 64th Maine Potato Blossom Festival in 2021. 

We greatly appreciate the Maine Office of Tourism for supporting our goals for the 2021 festival through awarding us this grant funding. 

As director it is one of my responsibilities to ensure there is enough funding not only to support all our long-standing premier events, but to also help grow this now 64-year-long tradition that celebrates our agricultural roots here in The County. 

We are so very grateful for our faithful sponsors and many volunteers who have supported the festival and help provide the much-needed revenue to support more than 80 events and all that it takes to make them happen. 

Grant funding is another added support system to enable events like the festival to continue to be successful. I’m always looking for added opportunities for funding to meet our goals for the upcoming 2021 festival. 

I have recently entered into a partnership with the Quality of Place Committee in applying for another grant with Maine Ag in the Classroom. In order to apply for some grants, you have to be a 501 (3) (C) nonprofit status, which is the festival is not on its own. With Maine Office of Tourism grant application, municipalities were eligible to apply, which the festival could under the town of Fort Fairfield. Maine Ag in the Classroom grants are only available to nonprofit organization, which the Quality of Place Committee is. For every Maine agriculture license plate sold, $10 goes into a special fund that supports agricultural educational programs.

This funding will be used to support a new event for the 2021 Festival, called “A Family Day on the Farm.” This interactive educational exhibit will be similar to the Northern Maine Fair’s Li’l Farmers at the Fair. We hope to be able to provide an added educational hands-on experience about agriculture, where our food comes from and the vital role our farmers play in the food we have on our tables every day. This will be for grades K-12 and will be held in conjunction with our annual family night. 

I am most grateful to the Quality of Place Committee for being willing to support this grant application. This committee has been so very supportive over the years in the overall betterment of the town of Fort Fairfield, including the festival. 

We are looking forward to the 64th Maine Potato Blossom Festival, July 17-25, 2021, in Fort Fairfield, with the hope that things will be much more positive then and we can once again gather together and celebrate. 

Cheryl Boulier of Fort Fairfield is the director of the Maine Potato Blossom Festival. 

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