Nearly 3,000 attend 48th annual Fall Foliage Festival
One tell-tale sign that attendance is good at the annual Fall Foliage Festival is that the Boothbay Region Lions Club's fish chowder booth gets sold out on the first day.
And what a first day it was, according to Margaret Hoffman, executive director of the Boothbay Railway Village, which hosts the festival, now in its 48th year.
Approximately 1,624 people passed through the gates on Saturday, Oct. 10, despite the overcast skies and cool breezes during the first few hours of the event. The people just kept coming and finally, the skies cleared and the sun shown down on the dozens of vendors' tents. Speaking of tents, one vendor's tent went flying early Saturday morning and luckily, no one got hurt.
The Village's infield was filled with crafts of many kinds and food vendors were kept busy, as visitors purchased warm chowder, burgers, hot dogs, onion rings, lobster stew, apple cider, hot chocolate and more to warm up with.
Sunday began with sunshine (but no Lions fish chowder) and the crowds were sparse during the first hour (10 to 11 a.m.), but then the visitors flooded the gates. All told, Sunday's visitors numbered 1,263, according to Hoffman, who kept busy keeping vendors, volunteers and visitors happy during the two-day event.
"That's the most people (two day attendance) we have had in more than five years," said Hoffman. "I don't have records before 2010 but that year, only 2,700 visitors came."
The visitors were entertained by musicians and many enjoyed catching up with friends at the Festival.
"I have to come here each year," said Betty Maddocks of Boothbay Harbor, who was attending the festival on Sunday with a friend up from Florida. "It's not fall until I come to the Festival."
The big reveal on Saturday, said Hoffman, was that artist Thomas Block carved into pumpkin what is coming out in book form in November — a book about the museum — "Reginald the Railway Rat," written by Paige Pendelton, illustrated by Thomas Block.
Hoffman also announced that Mary Norwood and the Merry Auld Tea Company won the People’s Choice Trophy for Best Booth and Kaiya Corriveau and Garrett Harlow won the pumpkin carving contest.