In this BDN file photo, attendees of the 2012 Maine Celtic Celebration in Belfast listen to Celtic fusion music. Credit: BDN file

BELFAST, Maine — As COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Waldo County and Maine, organizers of the Maine Celtic Celebration in Belfast announced Monday that the one-day event has been canceled.

“It is with a heavy heart that the Maine Celtic Celebration committee announces the cancellation of the planned September 18 event,” organizers posted on the event’s Facebook page. “We all had worked so hard towards having a live show, but the increased incidence of COVID-19 in Waldo County and the dim prospect that it is likely to get worse over the next couple months made us come to a unanimous decision to cancel the Celebration this year.”

The popular summer festival seems like another casualty of the spread of the highly contagious delta variant of COVID-19. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, Waldo County is one of five Maine counties seeing high levels of community transmission. The others are Penobscot, Piscataquis, Somerset and Knox.

As of last week, the Maine Center for Disease Control & Prevention had two open outbreak investigations in Waldo County, one connected to Waldo County General Hospital and the other to Calvary Chapel Belfast in Searsmont.

On Friday, 69 Mainers were hospitalized with the virus, a figure that is nearly three times the number hospitalized three weeks ago. More than half of those were in intensive care units and 15 were on ventilators.