Pemetic Elementary School band marches in last year's Memorial Day Parade in Southwest Harbor. This year's parade has been officially cancelled, as have the fireworks and Oktoberfest, as preventative measures in stopping the spread of COVID-19. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Memorial Day Parade, Oktoberfest and Fireworks canceled in Southwest Harbor

On This Memorial Day 

Remember those who served before. 

Remember those who are no more. 

Remember those who serve today, 

Remember them all on Memorial Day.

-    poem by Emily Toma 


SOUTHWEST HARBOR–Several annual celebrations that take place here have been officially canceled for this year as preventative measures in stopping the spread of COVID-19. 

Memorial Day celebrations, including the parade and ceremony at the veteran memorial on Village Green Way scheduled for May 25, were the first to be canceled at the end of last week by officers of the Eugene M. Norwood Post 69.  

“We didn’t want to place anybody in harm’s way,” said Robert Kramp, who is the treasurer of the local legion, in a conversation with the Islander. 

At the beginning of this week, the Southwest Harbor/Tremont Chamber of Commerce, also known as the Acadia Chamber, announced the annual July Fourth fireworks in Southwest Harbor are canceled and the 25th annual Oktoberfest celebration is postponed until 2021.  

“We are all concerned about the health and safety of our residents, seasonal workers and our visitors. Therefore, we are canceling events where large gatherings would naturally form,” the press release stated.  

Governor Janet Mills began lifting some restrictions on Tuesday, but kept the limit of gatherings of 10 people or less in place. 

According to Kramp, the decision to cancel the Memorial Day celebration was a decision the legion made following conversations with school officials.  “Everybody was pretty much in agreement,” said Kramp, one of the 72 members of the legion. 

Bands from Mount Desert Island High School, Pemetic Elementary and Tremont Consolidated schools typically play in the parade. While it is a small procession, fire trucks from the volunteer fire departments of Southwest Harbor and Tremont are also part of the parade. Members of the U.S. Coast Guard provide the color guard for the Main Street spectacle.  

In their press release, the Acadia Chamber said they had to make some difficult decisions regarding the fireworks and Oktoberfest. For the last few years, fireworks sponsored by the chamber have been shot off a barge moored in the harbor near Clark Point. They are visible throughout downtown, the head of the harbor, as well as along Shore Road.  

Acadia’s Oktoberfest would have celebrated its 25th anniversary this fall. Over the last two and a half decades, the beer-focused event has grown significantly and includes lots of craft brews from throughout the state. A home-brewers competition has been an exciting addition to the festivities over the last three years. The winning brewer gets a brew session at Fogtown Brewery in Ellsworth, where their beer gets featured on tap.  

There have not been any other cancellations for Memorial Day events at this time. Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Alf Anderson said they are working on a tentative plan for the commemorative service that usually takes place at the pier.  

“The best thing we can do is get through this,” said Kramp. “It’s better to be safe than sorry.” 



Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

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