SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Southwest Harbor Week, a new eight-day celebration designed to call attention to the many cultural opportunities available on the Quietside of the island, kicks off next Friday.
For years, Southwest Harbor has hosted Acadia’s Oktoberfest and the finish of the Mount Desert Island Marathon on consecutive weekends. Now, the Southwest Harbor-Tremont Chamber of Commerce has lined up a series of activities to fill the days between these two major events.
“We want people to know there’s more to the island than Acadia and Bar Harbor,” said Alan Feuer, president of the chamber’s board of directors.
Southwest Harbor Week begins Friday, Oct. 6, with the first of the two days of Oktoberfest, the chamber’s annual celebration of the brewer’s art. The group Farming Artists is conducting a pumpkin carving demonstration from 3-6 p.m. on the Pemetic Green on Main Street in downtown Southwest Harbor. The Crown Vics, Maine’s premier rockabilly band, will perform on the green from 5-7 p.m. The Oktoberfest wine tasting is from 4-6 p.m. at Smuggler’s Den Campground. The cost is $20 and features 40 different wines to taste.
The next day, Saturday, the focus is on beer, as nearly two dozen brewers set up shop in a large tent at Smuggler’s Den to serve samples of their work from noon to 5 p.m. Food is available, and there will be live music and games like beerless pong and a keg toss. For the first time, brewers have been invited to submit one of their products to be judged in a competition, Feuer said. The cost is $35, which includes a souvenir glass and unlimited samples. Admission for nondrinkers is $10.
Also on Saturday is the Island Arts Association craft fair, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
On Tuesday, Oct. 10, a day dedicated to birds and birding is planned. From 11 a.m. to noon, the Wendell Gilley Museum on Herrick Road will be open for a tour of its latest exhibition. Later in the day, from 5:30-7 p.m., the museum, which features many birds carved by Gilley, is a bird-carving workshop called “Birds, Blocks and Beer,” where microbrews will be served, Feuer said. Tuesday’s events also include a bird walk and birding cruise.
Wednesday is rock day, with tours of a quarry, a granite cutting demonstration and a geology walk.
Boats are the topic for Thursday, with tours and demonstrations at the U.S. Coast Guard station on the Clark Point Road from 10-11 a.m. The Coast Guard’s Bass Harbor Lighthouse also will be open for tours from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Tremont Historical Society will host tours at their museum, and the Bass Harbor Memorial Library will have a talk on fishing at Mount Desert Rock. The day ends with a sunset cruise past the lighthouse aboard R.L. Gott. The boat leaves Bass Harbor at 5:30 p.m.
History buffs should find plenty to do on Friday. The Mount Desert Island Historical Society is offering tours of the Somesville museum and gardens from 10 a.m. to noon. Two cruises are planned; one on the history of Somes Sound and another on traditional lobster fishing aboard a restored Friendship sloop. Chris Sockalexis, historic preservation officer of the Penobscot Nation, will give a talk on the early history of the island at the Salty Dog Gallery.
Antique and classic cars are on tap for Saturday, thanks to the Seal Cove Auto Museum in Tremont. From 9 a.m. to noon, the museum is offering “Cars and Coffee: A Taste of Europe.” The museum’s collection spotlights early American cars of what is known as the “Brass Era,” but for this event, they invited owners of classic European vehicles to show off their cars. The fun then moves to Southwest Harbor, where the museum staff is offering antique car rides from 1:30-3 p.m. from the Seal Cove Shoppes parking lot. At 4:30 p.m., car lovers are invited back to the museum for a cocktail party.
Sunday is the day of the marathon, the island’s premier running event, which begins in Bar Harbor and finishes in Southwest Harbor. A 1922 Detroit Electric car from the museum will lead the pack into town. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., a Finish Line Festival with live music and food is taking place in the Village Green Way parking area. This is the second year of the festival and, according to Feuer, the impetus for Southwest Harbor Week.
“That was the toe in the water,” he said.
Feuer said he’s been amazed at the how many organizations have come forward since the idea was first presented.
“I love this kind of collaboration,” he said. “That’s one of the strengths of this.”
While some events are free, many have a fee. For a complete list of events and related fees, visit acadiachamber.com.