ELLSWORTH, Maine — Fall is here.
In Ellsworth, that means it is time for the 26th annual Autumn Gold celebration, which starts today and will run through Sunday, featuring a variety of events and activities throughout the weekend.
“There’s something for everybody,” Micki Sumpter, the Chamber’s executive director, said Wednesday.
The event has grown since the first Autumn Gold, Sumpter said.
“For the first 12 years, it was just the car show,” she said. “Then we added the Chowder Fest and spread the events all around town so that all of the town would be affected by the people coming into town.”
The antique car show and the chowder event are still popular parts of the celebration. The car show, on a good day, can draw 900 or more people, and last year, more than 700 tickets to the Chowder Fest were sold.
“We figure we bring in between 3,000 and 4,000 additional people, including tourists,” Sumpter said. “And the hotels fill up for this.”
Part of the long-term success of Autumn Gold stems from the support of the Chamber board over the years and from the city’s businesses and the business sponsors, she said. And the Chamber has tried to add new events or activities every couple of years.
Some of those added events, such as the Chowder Fest, have become popular staples for the event. For a $5 ticket, chowder lovers this year will get to sample chowders from nine different area chefs and to vote for their favorite.
There is a charge for some of the events and activities, and the proceeds of most go toward fundraising projects in the area, Sumpter said. The Maine Coast Memorial Hospital, for example, sponsors its annual Craft Fair and Chinese Auction on Friday and Saturday. And there also will be two blood drives: one from 3 to 7 p.m. today, at Hancock Dental; and the other from 1 to 5 p.m. Friday at PCT Communications.
Kids’ movies, swing dancing, a canine carnival, model train display, tethered balloon rides, golf tournaments and a wide range of food vendors and exhibitors are also among the attractions throughout the celebration.
And there also is music, some of it local provided by the Fletcher’s Landing Philharmonic, and some provided by visiting performers such as the Jonatha Brooke concert at The Grand Saturday night.
For more information and a complete listing of Autumn Gold events, check the Chamber’s Web site, www.ellsworthchamber.org.