Alexis Wyman-LaBelle Contributing Writer
The Maine Fiddlehead Festival is set to come back to Farmington for the eighth annual event in a new location with live music and activities on campus on May 4 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The new location for the festival is the Roberts Learning Center Courtyard and extending into the High Street parking lot, with use of the amphitheatre.
The event is sponsored by the UMF Sustainable Campus Coalition (SCC), Farmington Farmers Market and community members. This year’s theme is The Joy of Fermentation, with many different talks and demonstrations. Talks will include different topics such as: Sourdough and Hard Cheese, Kombucha, Shoyu mushroom ferment, miso, sauerkraut, and an overview presentation on what fermentation is and does to preserve and enhance food, as well as its nutritive qualities.
“We also hope to have a tasting area for folks to share their home fermentation projects,” said Casey Brackett, a Permaculture Consultant and Community Member,who has been actively involved with planning the event.
During the festival, there will be performances of live music in the amphitheater by local artists like Sagittarius Rising, Merry Plinksters, Food Stamp Kidz, Franklin County Fiddlers, Invite the Wild, Jonboy Nemo, Crooked Bill, and Nuclear Salad.
There will be a live cooking demo from Ashley Montgomery, a UMF professor and Assistant Dean of Testing and Learning, on how to prepare fiddleheads.
The organizing group is excited about the event this year. “It’s also the first day of the outdoor farmers market,” said Brackett. “Vendors will be selling all kinds of food and farm related goods.”
“In addition to the vendors, there will also be children’s activities, and baby animals,” said Luke Kellet, coordinator of SCC. The festival is expected to have baby goats, lambs, chickens, rabbits, and baby emus.
The event usually brings about 300-500 people coming to explore. “This year, we’re expecting a larger group to attend,” said Brackett. “We reached out to fermentation fans.”
The tradition of the festival began eight years ago on a rainy day. It was organized by a large group of UMF professors, local business people, community food activists as well as others. “It was sparsely attended,” said Brackett, “but everyone who came was extremely enthusiastic.”
The general idea for a celebration about local food stemmed from the growing threats to the safety of some food products in today’s society. The committee got together and decided it would be best to celebrate the locally grown food and to emphasize positive things about agriculture in the small community of Farmington.
The rain location will be the Landing. The SCC meets every Friday during the semester from 11:45-1:00 pm in Education Center 113. For questions, the person to contact is Luke Kellet (firstname.lastname@example.org), the group is open for anyone to join.