Second annual NoMa Homestead Festival held in Grand Isle

Published: May. 31, 2023 at 11:01 AM EDT
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Grand Isle, Maine (WAGM) - A beautiful day in Grand Isle brought more than a dozen vendors and many community members out to the second-annual NOMA Homestead Festival on May 27, held at the Grand Isle Community Center.

“We started NOMA Homestead festival to help support and connect small farms and homesteads in the Northern Maine communities,” NoMa Homestead Association committee member Kristen Henry said. “Our intent is to make sure we can provide a place where they can come and share their made goods, their grown goods and of course, our feathered friends here.”

Several events were held throughout the day, including a spring plant sale and market in the morning that brought out a number of different vendors, including Carl Guerrette, a veteran who spent part of his Memorial Day Weekend showcasing his laser engraved wood craft products.

“I’m just proud being a vet, and I help vets also, Guerrette said. “A lot of stuff I do dedicate A lot of veteran stuff, like I made little charms to put around their window to display that they were a veteran.”

Guerrette says people should come out to the festival for the variety the market brings.

“You’ll never know what you’ll get,” he said. “(You) never know what might pop up, there’s a lot of nice stuff, a lot of nice crafts.”

The market, which was accompanied by a petting zoo, also featured chicken processing and worm composting workshops to teach onlookers useful skills.

In the afternoon, the festival held a poker run to benefit a local family before capping off the day with a concert featuring performances from Charles Oullette and Guilty Pleasure.

While organizers were pleased with how the Saturday’s event went, they already have their minds toward the future.

“Our long-term goals here are to eventually create a cooperative that has a heavy focus on equipment share, because that seems to be a barrier to sustainable farming for the smaller homesteads,” Henry said.”

Henry hopes the group will be able to bring back some traces of homesteading that allowed Aroostook County to flourish as a community in its early days.

“When the first settlers came, this is how they survived, this is what they did, and they grew it into an entire farming community,” she said. “So we’re just kind of taking it back to its roots, it’s kind of a revival, I think, for homesteading in Northern Maine.”

A revival they are already looking forward to celebrating next year.