ELLSWORTH, Maine — The golden flags are flying on Main Street again, a sure sign that summer is ending and that the annual Autumn Gold celebration is just around the corner.
The 27th edition of Autumn Gold, sponsored by the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce, kicks off on Thursday with a Business After Hours meeting and runs through Sunday.
The celebration began as a way to focus attention on Ellsworth, according to Micki Sumpter, the Chamber’s executive director.
“The [Chamber] board was looking for a way to bring more people into the area,” Sumpter said Tuesday.
The effort has been successful and today the Autumn Gold celebration brings an additional 2,500 to 3,000 people to the city, she said. In addition to attending planned events, many of those people visit area shops and some plan to eat and stay in the city for a night or two, Sumpter said.
Initially, the Chamber brought in an attraction with a guaranteed draw, an antique car show that has become a staple of the Autumn Gold celebration.
“They started working on it and it just keeps growing,” Sumpter said. “We’ll get 150 cars. If it’s a sunny day, we could get as many as 200.”
The 27th annual Autumn Gold Car Show runs from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday in the parking lot of Home Depot. In addition to the cars that register for the show, the Acadia Region Corvette Club and American Legion minicars are expected to attend this year’s event.
Admission to the show is free, but to enter a car, the fee is $5.
In conjunction with the car show, the Ellsworth Fire Department-Senator Hale Hose Company 2013 Convention will sponsor a “Touch-A-Truck” event at the site featuring several different trucks and equipment.
In addition, Harmon Tire will sponsor the Firestone Monster Truck and Indy Car Simulator.
The annual Chowderfest cook-off at the city waterfront, now in its 13th year, also has grown to include 11 chefs and as many as 600 people who will taste and judge the entries. The cost is just $5.
Local boat owners will again offer free boat rides on the Union River, and at the Mill Mall there will be a number of events including a model train display and a demonstration by the local Zumba workout team.
“We’re trying to hit every area of Ellsworth,” Sumpter said.
Autumn Gold also will feature the Maine Coast Memorial Hospital annual craft fair and Chinese auction on the hospital grounds on Friday and Saturday and a new feature, a blueberry pancake and French toast breakfast on Saturday sponsored by the Trenton Volunteer Fire Department at the fire station.
The final day of the celebration kicks off with the Acadia Birches fourth annual Autumn Gold golf tournament. There’s still time to sign up. For information, call 667-3621.
There will be a bounce house for children, area nonprofits will have booths set up, there will be live music and the local Boy Scouts will be serving up hamburgers and hot dogs. There also will be a dance, live performances, an autograph party with Maine authors, sidewalk sales, open houses, demonstrations and the popular “Go for the Gold” raffle.
A full listing of the weekend’s activities, including details and costs, can be found at www.ellsworthchamber.org.