WINTER HARBOR — Lobsters will become part of the final frontier Aug. 10.
“Fly Me to the Moon” is the theme of this year’s Winter Harbor Lobster Festival, which will feature a visit from astronaut Rick Hauck. Now a resident of Winter Harbor, Hauck commanded the first space shuttle flight after the Challenger tragedy in 1986.
“Not many [towns] have their own astronaut,” said Bob Hammond, co-president of the Schoodic Area Chamber of Commerce, which assists Town Manager Cathy Carruthers with organizing the festival, now in its 55th year.
“It’s going to be such a wonderful day,” Carruthers said.
Hauck will visit the Winter Harbor Fire Station on School Street at 1 p.m. and will remain there for at least an hour. Behind him will be a backdrop that looks as if you’re standing on the moon looking at Earth, Carruthers said. This will provide an appropriate background for photos.
Linda Elliott, chamber vice president, said the event helps raise money for the chamber’s annual operating expenses and to fund three scholarships given annually to graduates of Sumner Memorial High School.
“We always, always hope for good weather,” she said.
Carruthers said the space theme was chosen because this year marks the 50th anniversary of the first landing on the moon.
A NASA tent will be set up all day with exhibits, information and small souvenirs to hand out.
To celebrate the festival theme, a spacefaring lobster appears on this year’s T-shirt, which will be available for sale.
“They are popular and we’ve run out before,” Elliott said. “A lot of folks collect them.”
Of course, lobsters will also appear on plates from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. when lobster dinners will be served.
The events of the day actually begin at 6 a.m. with a breakfast at the Masonic Hall. Pancakes will be served until 11 a.m.
Approximately 85 vendors will be set up, selling their wares from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Civil War re-enactors will also make camp and provide demonstrations of Civil War life from Friday evening until Sunday morning.
Lobster boat races start at 10 a.m. at Henry Cove and will honor Keith Young, who organized them for the past 40 years.
Other attractions include a Fire Department live burn at 2:30 p.m., a Moxie drinking contest at 3:30, the parade at 5:30 and a performance by the band LUX at 7.
Radio station 97.9 will be broadcasting live from the festival. Because it attracts as many as 10,000 people, parking is expected to be at a premium. Hammond and Carruthers are encouraging people to park elsewhere and take the Island Explorer buses into town. Two of them will be running all day.
Organizers also are seeking volunteers to assist with parking, manning the information booth and selling T-shirts.
“A couple hours is very helpful,” Hammond said. “It doesn’t have to be all day.”
Anyone interested in volunteering is asked to contact Carruthers at 963-2235 or [email protected]