BAR HARBOR — Belt sanders decorated with portraits, stuffed animals and other cat garb were raced on Sunday in honor of Hops the brewery cat.
Hosted by Atlantic Brewing Company on Knox Road in Town Hill, the 15th Annual Belt Sander Races were a benefit to raise money for the Beth C. Wright Cancer Resource Center in Ellsworth.
A crowd of more than 70 people crowded under and around a tent outside the brewery to watch belt sanders scurry down a custom-made track and slam into cushioned bags at the finish. There were 12 belt sanders entered into the double-elimination race.
“This table gets smoother every year we have these races,” emcee Adam Whitcomb commented after a couple of runs. “It’s like touching a dolphin.”
Steve Glass and William Davy’s entry, Guardian Angel, decked out with wings and a plastic cat bearing a Cheshire-like grin, took the first place title.
To kick things off, each participant paraded their belt sander before the crowd. All sanders participants have to have their stock motors in place to compete. After the parade of sanders, the crowd took a moment of silence to honor Hops the cat with music from Mondo Charlie playing in the background.
According to the owners of Mainely Meats, located within the brewery campus, Hops was 21 years old and had been a fixture of the upper part of Knox Road. Making her daily rounds between the brewery and Town Hill Market, Hops was found at the side of the road, likely hit by a vehicle.
She kept away the mice and made many a brewer unproductive, Whitcomb told the crowd prior to a toast in honor of Hops.
Sanders with names like Captain Amerihops, Don’t Worry Be Hoppy, X-Bones and the Cats, Bad Kitty ran the track to cheers and jovial shouting late in the afternoon. Team Calypso, entered by Chris Costello and decorated with a large, colorful stuffed cat, won the best-decorated sander award.
Earlier in the day, War Canoe Races were held on Long Pond. Atlantic Brewing Company also featured three of their brews at Acadia’s Oktoberfest on Saturday in Southwest Harbor.
See more photos in an online gallery here.