BUCKSPORT, Maine — Friends of Fort Knox will join forces with area merchants to make sure residents and visitors have a ghoulishly good time this Halloween.
For the first time, the Bucksport Bay Area Chamber of Commerce and the Downtown Business Association will sponsor Ghostport, a weekend event that will dovetail with the first weekend of the Friends’ annual Fright at the Fort, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.
“We’re very excited about this,” said Chamber Director Maureen Harris. “We’re hoping this will grow every year and Bucksport will be the place to be on Halloween.”
Harris said the joint event provides another opportunity to bring people into the area to help them discover Bucksport as a wonderful place to visit.
Leon Seymour, executive director of the Friends of Fort Knox, has been trying for several years to find a way to expand the popular Fright at the Fort events across the river to downtown Bucksport.
“Fright brings in as many as 10,000 people over four evenings; that’s pretty big,” Seymour said Wednesday. “This is a way to transfer the Halloween events over to Bucksport so that the entire area can be viewed as a destination for Halloween fun.”
Bucksport already has a “spooky” side to it, with the legend of the leg on the Buck monument and a couple of century-old unsolved murders, making it a likely venue for a Halloween celebration that will be different than the Fright event at the fort, Seymour said.
“I think it has great potential,” he said.
The Fright at the Fort takes place on two consecutive weekends, Fridays and Saturdays, Oct. 23-24 and 30-31. Each night, visitors are led through the dark passageways of the fort where they encounter ghosts, ghouls, zombies, skeletons, spooks and specters that are harmless, but guaranteed to terrify.
This year, the Ghostport activities will be limited to one weekend, Oct. 23-24. The main event on Friday will be the Monster Mash dance on the waterfront with participants encouraged to come in costume. That event coincides with the Fright at the Fort kickoff, which will feature fireworks that can be seen from the Bucksport waterfront.
Harris said Saturday’s events will include a pumpkin trebuchet (catapult), which will launch pumpkins into the Penobscot River, and parades and coffin races featuring homemade coffins. Some of the Ghostport events will carry a charge and organizers plan to offer a joint pass for Ghostport events and Fright at the Fort. The combo pass will allow holders to ride a shuttle bus from downtown Bucksport to the fort and back.
Both Harris and Seymour predict the joint venture will be a success and will continue to grow in the coming years.
“I think this is a good opportunity to build on the success of Fright at the Fort,” Seymour said. “Down the road, I can see this becoming a regional event with people from all over northern New England coming to town to enjoy Halloween.”
For more information about the events — and details on requirements for the coffin races — call the fort at 469-6553 or the Chamber, 469-6818, or go to fortknox.maineguide.com, www.bucksportchamber.org or http://ghostport2009.blogspot.com/.