St. John Valley

2020 Ploye Festival canceled, Muskie Derby still a go

FORT KENT, Maine — Organizers of the 20th annual Ploye Festival, originally slated for Aug. 7-9, have canceled this year’s event, but plans are still on for the Fort Kent International Muskie Derby that same weekend.

After consulting with Bouchard Family Farms and those involved with the fishing derby, the Greater Fort Kent Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors, coordinators of the Ploye Festival, decided to cancel it in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, current public gathering restrictions and the 14-day mandated quarantine for out-of-state visitors.

The festival, held annually in tandem with derby, features several local events, including a tractor pull, family/kid-friendly activities, local community organization events, local artisans and musicians sharing their talent, and of course, the record-breaking 12-foot ploye demonstration by Bouchard Family Farms.  It is also a time when the majority of Fort Kent class reunions and several family gatherings take place.

“Although this may be disappointing to our local communities and families who have traditionally gathered during the Ploye Festival weekend, we felt that the health and safety of our participants, volunteers and residents outweighed the risks of holding this large-scale public event during a major international health crisis,” stated Dona Saucier, executive director of the chamber.  

“That being said, you can still achieve social distancing and avoid crowds while muskie fishing, and the Muskie Derby is still scheduled for Aug. 7-9. Of course, like all else at this time, this is subject to change at a moment’s notice, so please refer to the Fort Kent International Muskie Derby Facebook page for updates,” Saucier said.

“Also, some local organizations are, at this time, still holding their own events anyway, adjusted of course to meet the current health and safety guidelines, such as the Fort Kent Lions/Boy Scout Troop 189 chicken barbecue on Thursday, Aug. 6, and Fort Kent Masons’ lobster boil on Saturday, Aug. 8, among others,” she added.

“Again, these events are subject to change, so please check the Ploye Fest Facebook page for updates as the time draws near.”

The Greater Fort Kent Chamber has planned to resume the Ploye Festival in 2021, which is slated for the second weekend of August.

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