ELLSWORTH, Maine — Thousands of people are expected to mark the arrival of fall this weekend at the annual Autumn Gold Celebration featuring a slew of events held across the city.
Now in its 28th year, Autumn Gold is organized annually by the Ellsworth Area Chamber of Commerce and businesses as a way to draw residents and visitors to the city during the lull between Labor Day and the fall tourist season.
Kelly Cochrane, marketing coordinator for the Chamber of Commerce, said the event started with a downtown auto show.
“It really has just grown from there as other businesses got involved,” Cochrane said. More than 3,000 people typically attend the various events.
The 2011 celebration will feature most of the traditional Autumn Gold events — including a chowder contest judged by the public, special sales at local businesses and the relatively new “Classic Cars City Cruise” down Main Street — as well as a few additions.
Festival events begin on Thursday night with a “Business After Hours” event for Chamber of Commerce members and guests at the Down East Family YMCA. Friday’s events include a craft fair and auction outside Maine Coast Memorial Hospital and the 2011 Manhattan Short Film Festival at The Grand.
The Trenton Fire Department will kick off Saturday with a blueberry pancake and French toast breakfast from 6 to 10 a.m. on Oak Point Road.
The 28th annual Autumn Gold Car Show — the event that started the annual fall festival — begins at 8 a.m. in the Home Depot parking lot and runs until 1 p.m. The auto show culminates with an organized cruise down High Street and Main Street.
“If you stand on Main Street you will literally see history roll by,” Cochrane said.
Ten chefs then will compete in the popular “Autumn Gold Chowderfest” from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Ellsworth waterfront. Tickets are $5. Free boat rides of the Union River also will leave from the waterfront.
Businesses at Mill Mall will offer family-oriented activities including window painting, model trail displays, balloon animal making as well as fingerprinting and displays by local nonprofit organizations and law enforcement agencies.
Saturday evening’s activities include a pig roast at Friends & Family Market, a roast pork supper at the 1st Congregational Church and an Oktoberfest celebration at Simone’s restaurant.
Numerous businesses in the city also will be holding special sales throughout the weekend.
Sunday’s events include a benefit motorcycle ride from Ellsworth to areas Down East beginning at 9 a.m. and the Woodlawn Farmer’s Market.
For information on the Autumn Gold Celebration, go to http://www.ellsworthchamber.org.