Harbor Fest: Bigger and better than ever
Harbor Fest opens Sept. 1. In the six years since Lori Reynolds started the annual festival, it has grown from one day to 10, and the Boothbay Harbor event continues to draw businesses, organizations and visitors from all over Maine.
Reynolds created Harbor Fest through her company, One Event Productions, to draw visitors to the area in September. “I’ve found that through event production we can bring a lot of people into a town, and local businesses benefit from it.”
The festival will showcase more than 100 Maine businesses, organizations and people.
Among the events planned are a 5k and a half marathon starting at 8 a.m. on Sept. 3. This year, the new half marathon course will take runners past miles of water views, with lighthouses and glimpses of islands, across the historic footbridge and through downtown Boothbay Harbor. Reynolds said 30 percent of the registrants to date will be visiting the Boothbay region for the first time.
As of Aug. 9, there were three confirmed water station hosts: Anchor Church, Key Bank and FFF Models. Reynolds is seeking five additional businesses and/or organizations to host water stations, to” show community spirit and promote your business.”
A professional race director has been hired to oversee both races. The deadline to receive a free T-shirt with registration is Aug. 17.
Reynolds said the new course is possible thanks to the volunteer efforts of Police Chief Bob Hasch, Officer Larry Brown and Hunter de Garmo. She stressed that there will be no road closings for the race, and by 9:30 a.m., the runners will all have gone through downtown. Both races benefit the Diabetes Prevention Program, a collaborative program between the Boothbay Region YMCA, CLC YMCA and Lincoln Health.
Also new this year will be a cheering squad contest. Anyone along the course is encouraged to come out of homes and businesses to cheer the runners on. There will two $100 awards, sponsored by Lincoln Health, for the best cheering squads.
A wellness fair will take place at the Boothbay Region High School football field on race day, with live music, wellness vendors, yoga, aerobics and Zumba classes. The American Heart Association, on its American Mobile Tour, will be at the event offering CPR training.
One of the highlights of the festival is the tasting event, “A Taste of Local Flavor,” with a kickoff party featuring 92 Moose, at Mystic Mermaid.
This will be the fourth year for the foodie event. “People love it,” Reynolds said. The event covers two days and three nights, from Friday, Sept. 1 through Sunday, Sept. 3, and includes live music and signature tastings at 14 local restaurants. A shuttle will be available to transport people from one side of town to the other.
Another highlight is the Fishin’ for Fashion’ show, a fundraiser for BRHS Project Graduation. The event will be held at the Boothbay Harbor Oceanside Golf Resort on Sept. 9. Models will walk the runway wearing original designs made from materials used in the fishing industry. WMTW Channel 8 morning meteorologist Ted McInerney and morning news anchor Kristina Frank will participate.
Another new event this year, The Vintage Market, will feature 19 locations promoting vintage items, events and venues.
A well-attended, favorite event of Harbor Fest, A Stroke of Art, is a week-long plein air art event that will feature daily receptions at different picturesque locations, including Harborfields Waterfront Cottages, Boothbay Harbor Inn, Fisherman’s Wharf Inn, and Caper’s Deli.
According to Reynolds, reviews from attendees last year included one from a Rochester, New Hampshire couple, Jack and Patti: “We are staying at the Flagship again and we're looking forward to another great weekend, like last year, and have even set aside an extra day to REALLY enjoy it. Keep up the great work!”
Harbor Fest is promoted on WCLZ radio and WMTW Channel 8, both major sponsors of the event. Harbor Fest runs a $150,000 ad campaign that extends throughout the year.