SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Acadia’s Oktoberfest always draws a crowd of brew lovers to Smuggler’s Den Campground, and the festivities this weekend should be no different.
The annual event, sponsored by the Southwest Harbor-Tremont Chamber of Commerce, offers more than an opportunity to raise a stein or two. Wine tasting, live music, good food and a craft show are scheduled for the two days of the celebration.
Oktoberfest kicks off Friday with a wine tasting at Smuggler’s Den on Route 102. Wine expert Scott Worcester is to select the wines and provide background on his choices. A variety of hors d’ oeuvres will be served. The cost is $18.
Also on Friday, live music and a pumpkin carving demonstration are scheduled for downtown. Rockabilly favorites The Crown Vics are to play from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on the Village Green. That afternoon, the 11th Hour Farming Artists will be on the Pemetic Green carving intricate designs into large pumpkins.
The most popular of the Oktoberfest events is, of course, the beer tasting. About 20 small Maine breweries are expected at Smuggler’s Den on Saturday, where attendees can sample their products from noon to 5 p.m. Admission is $35 and includes a souvenir glass and unlimited samples. Nondrinkers can attend for $10. The event is free for children under the age of 12.
Those who have attended the brewfest in the past will notice a difference this year. The chamber has decided to forego the usual three large tents and has opted for one tent, which will house the brewers, said Cynthia Crow of the chamber. Many of the vendors are bringing food trucks, so the decision was made to give them space along one side of the festival grounds, Crow explained.
About eight food vendors will be on hand. Lobster rolls, barbecue, hot dogs, deserts, ice cream and kettle corn are among the offerings.
Two musical acts are scheduled to perform Saturday. The duo Russ and Jeff will share the stage with singer-guitarist Tim Lewis.
Another change is that the craft fair is no longer at Smuggler’s Den. Now sponsored by the Island Arts Association, the fair is Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Pemetic School Green on Main Street.
Attendees also can take part in a number of other activities, including a stein hoisting contest, beerless pong and the torpedo keg toss. At 12:45 p.m., Tom Major, author of “Brewing in Maine,” will host a beer trivia contest from the music stage. Signed copies of Major’s book will be available in the beer tent.
A People’s Choice award will go to one of the brewers. Beer drinkers will get a wooden “coin” that they can use to vote for their favorite brewery. The winner will be determined by which brewery has the most coins in their bucket at the end of the day, Crow said.
One table in the beer tent will feature infused beers. Tyler Johnson of the Liquor Locker will be infusing beer with flavors that include rice crispy bourbon treat, lapsang souchong tea and coconut and pineapple.
This is the 21st year of the chamber’s Oktoberfest. The event has grown steadily since its early days in downtown Southwest Harbor.
“It’s a fantastic opportunity to see a lot of new brewers and some old favorites,” Crow said.
However, Crow, who doesn’t drink beer, points out that people can have a great time at Oktoberfest without imbibing.
“I like the music, and I love the food,” she said.