SEARSPORT, Maine — The leaves are turning colors and falling, the days are getting shorter, and pumpkins are beginning to make their annual appearance — all this means it is time for the annual Fling into Fall festival.
The 12th annual seasonal celebration will begin today and last through Saturday evening, when a 7 p.m. fireworks display will light up the night sky over Mosman Park.
“It’s a good, family-oriented event,” said Cody Morse, the Searsport Ambulance chief, who has helped to organize the festival. “It’s the last hurrah of the season, when people can come out, enjoy the bright fall colors, the crisp, cool air and the community spirit.”
Fling into Fall will feature some new activities and others that are returning favorites, such as the scarecrow contest and carved pumpkin displays, which will be found outside the Penobscot Marine Museum beginning at 10 a.m. today. Voting will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.
New this year are Cowboy Action Shooting, which will take place 12:30-1:30 p.m. Saturday at the Museum Field on Church Street, and an antique car show 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday at Mosman Park.
Attendees can feast on food sold by area nonprofit organizations, including a turkey supper beginning at 4:30 p.m. Friday at the Methodist church and an Italian supper starting at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Congregational church. They also can feast their ears on music from the bluegrass band Phat Grass, which will perform 6:30-9 p.m. Friday.
Longtime volunteer Ralph Harvey, who is the festival chairman, said organizers are hoping to attract more people and more dollars for local business sponsors to ensure that the popular event will return next year.
“People need to know it’s not a freebie,” he said. “We do things free — but the local business do support it, and that’s what makes it free.”
While this year’s festival is shaping up nicely, he said, the fundraising has lagged behind. He estimated that Fling into Fall costs between $2,500 and $3,000 to put on, not including the fireworks, which are donated by Buddy Hall and his family. Hall is the owner of Anglers Restaurant and Baits Motel on Route 1.
“We have a band on Friday night, a variety show or band on Saturday, hayrides … those things all cost money,” Harvey said.
For more information about Fling into Fall, visit www.searsportme.net.