This year, though, the event focused on the latter. Recently renamed the Bucksport Bay Festival of the Forest — it used to be just the Bucksport Bay Fest —the inaugural festivities lasted two days and drew attention to Bucksport’s history as a mill town.
So when a parade proceeded from the Verso Paper mill parking lot Saturday morning, it wasn’t a fisherman or mermaid or sailor leading the pack. Instead, a man dressed up in fake bark and leaves, waving like a Miss America contestant from the back of a pickup truck.
Following the human tree were the ladies of the Bucksport Garden Club, who fashioned a float out of evergreen boughs and an all-terrain golf cart. Local Girl Scout groups came next, waving around replica saplings.
The Festival of the Forest began a day earlier, with vendors and a climbing wall popping up along the waterfront, a karaoke contest starting at 6 p.m. and a movie, “American Graffiti,” showing in the parking lot behind the Alamo Theatre at 9.
Before the parade on Saturday, a five-kilometer fun run went from the Bucksport Town Pool, along Broadway and through the Miles Lane trail system. A blueberry pancake breakfast took place behind Camden National Bank, which also sponsored a play zone where kids got to jump in a moon bounce, enter a raffle and make crafts.
In keeping with the wood products theme, Verso Paper provided two tours of its mill Saturday, while various businesses and organizations set up stalls along the waterfront to educate visitors on aspects of the forestry industry, including tree growth, equipment, sustainability and economic development.
In a “heavy equipment petting zoo,” both kids and adults crawled in, over and around tankers, logging trucks, tractors and backhoes.
The sea wasn’t totally eclipsed by the event’s woodsy theme. A U.S. Coast Guard vessel was open for tours at the town dock, while the occasional cannon could be heard firing across the harbor at Fort Knox, where Civil War re-enactments were going on.
As darkness settled on Bucksport, many made their way down to the waterfront for another volley, this time of fireworks, over the same body of water.