HARDWICK, Vt. — The owner and publisher of a weekly newspaper is extending an essay contest to find a new owner for it after failing to get enough entries.

Ross Connelly had hoped to get at least 700 essays from which to pick a winner to own the Hardwick Gazette but said Thursday that he had received fewer than 100 since the contest started June 11.

The entry fee is $175. Contestants are expected to write up to 400 words about their skills and vision for owning a rural weekly newspaper in Vermont.

The deadline to enter has been extended to Sept. 20.

The winner would assume ownership of the newspaper and its historic building, equipment, website and proprietary materials needed to operate the business. The newspaper is printed offsite at a press not owned by it.