Organizers of the 2nd Annual Midcoast Tree Festival have announced that the event is being postponed until 2021 due to concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic. The event had been scheduled to open on Nov. 20 with nearly three dozen decorated trees and wreaths for patrons to be raffled off.
The event is a joint fundraiser for All Saints Parish (St. John’s School), Spectrum Generations’ Meals on Wheels program and the Southern Midcoast Maine Chamber. The groups raised over $24,000 in the first year, from 50 cent raffle tickets and sponsorships.
“It’s a shame to have to make this decision, but when we weighed the work we had put in, and the need for something good in our community right now, against the relentless surge of Covid-19 cases and the potential of making this a super spreader event, we made the call to postpone,” said Southern Midcoast Maine Executive Director Cory King in a news release. “It just isn’t responsible to hold a major event that will bring hundreds and possibly thousands of people to one location before sending them off to their family Thanksgiving meals and holiday gatherings.”
The committee had explored having the majority of the ticket sales online, but state gambling laws do not allow for that when the prizes are valued collectively at over $10,000. The planning committee did submit a letter asking for permission to allow online ticket sales, but the agencies who would need to adopt that change could not approve it without legislative action.
“Online ticketing would have been a game-changer,” King said. “I know other non-profit events similar to ours also would have benefited from allowing online ticket sales, but you can’t change certain statutes without legislative approval. It’s just another way Covid-19 is continuing to challenge us.”
Organizers are hoping to postpone the event until possibly school vacation week in April, or maybe a Christmas in July event.
“It really depends on where our state and country are at with Covid-19 cases and if our tree sponsors would be interested in doing an event during those re-schedule dates and there is no way to know that right now,” King said. “The bottom line is we want to make sure everyone is as safe as they can be this holiday season, and we look forward to bringing this incredible event back to the Bath-Brunswick-Midcoast area when we can do so safely.”