Driver’s demise is dinner plot



TREMONT — A driver in the early 1900s is killed after someone tampers with his car, and guests at the Seal Cove Auto Museum’s Rusticator Picnic are being asked to play detective and find the murderer.

The event, a major fundraiser for the Tremont auto museum, is scheduled for 6-9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 7, at the museum. For this, the third Rusticator Picnic, organizers decided to add a “twist” with a murder mystery dinner based on the museum’s “Car Wars” exhibit, said Executive Director Raney Bench.

“Car Wars” traces the early history of cars on Mount Desert Island. At a time when not everyone approved of these new-fangled vehicles, those in opposition referred to as them as “devil carts.” The debate, which often was contentious, forms the plot of the murder mystery.

“I think it’s going to be a lot of fun,” Bench said.

Bench said the museum worked with writers in the Jesup Memorial Library’s mystery writer’s group. Three scripts were submitted. Two were chosen and will be combined.

“They just had the most fun, creative ideas,” Bench said.

The setting is a chauffeur’s ball. These balls, which actually were held during the early 1900s, were hosted by wealthy summer residents for their chauffeurs and other staff, Bench said.

“We’re going to recreate the ball,” Bench said.

During the ball, a constable will announce the murder. Both sides of the “Car Wars” issue are represented at the ball, throwing suspicion on almost everyone. At the end of the night, attendees, who have the option to actively participate, will try to guess the murderer.

Bench said a group of volunteers – actors from Acadia Community Theater and others involved in local theater – have come forward to play key roles. Attendees will find out when they register whether they are for or against cars on the island and are encouraged to dress in period costume and take part in the action.

The event begins with the museum’s signature Rusticator punch and appetizers served on the lawn overlooking Seal Cove Pond. Diners then will move to tables inside for a meal catered by Country Fair Catering. Sometime before dessert, people will be asked to turn in cards listing who they think committed the crime. Prizes will be awarded to the successful sleuths.

Tickets are $75 for members and $100 for nonmembers. Call 244-9242 or contact Bench at raney@sealcoveautomuseum.org.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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