Where It’s At

It was a fantastic Fall Foliage Festival

Tue, 10/11/2022 - 11:45am

This is a quintessential fall day in New England, and we’re going to the fair, I overheard a woman with a Southern accent say to her companion Saturday at Boothbay Railway Village. And she was right! The sun was shining, trees stood in all their crimson and golden splendor as hundreds of visitors passed through the gates Saturday and Sunday. 

While dogs of all sizes held meet and greets, kids and parents, hand-holding couples – neighbors and visitors all made their way around the 50 vendors tempting all with their wares. Children’s book author Tonya Shevenell was back with “The Maine Birthday Book” and with some of the characters as stuffed animals! Adorable.

Pottery; hats, fascinators, and caps; honey and honey products; soaps; handbags and quilts/throws made from recycled jeans; tie-dye clothing; jewelry; cottony soft hand-knit /crocheted scarfs; polar fleece gaitors and hats; super enlarged photos, fanciful clothing for the kids … so many interesting booths all set up around the perimeter of the Green, which meant every artisan had equal exposure.

And there was the young rescued eastern screech owl, Willow L. Moon, who drew crowds over at the Pollination Station booth where Dan Weekes of Alna answered questions about Willow, yes, but also about bats being pollinators – particularly in desert and tropical climes. Weekes had a young bat’s body encased in glass to point out the similarities between a bat’s wing and human hands – their wings each have four fingers and a thumb.

Monarch butterflies and honeybees were the hot topics at the Pollination Station booth. Everyone who stopped by had many questions that, after they were done oohing and ahhing over Willow, were answered. Weekes shared Willow’s background. The wee thing had been struck by a car and was rehabbed in Maryland at Owl-Moon Raptor Center. Surgery following the accident involved removing an eye and ear making it impossible to release her back in to the wild. She has been at Pollination Station since 2015.

After visiting with the Y Arts performers at their bake sale table, I turned to see six or was it eight, people at a picnic table, all looking straight ahead. I turned to see what had captured their attention, to find some kids doing cartwheels, and tumbles – in mid air! The Rob and Michele LaPorte family was visiting their nephew, Fireman E3 Raymond Mellett, stationed at the USCG Station in West Boothbay Harbor the past nine months. Four of the kids and their cousin were catching some attention. Naturally, I had to ask them if they were up for more gymnastics – and took some cool photos.

I met Lynn Spence, owner of Maidenhair & Moss in Cushing). She makes luxurious soaps. Lynn, who has a chemistry background, was “sort of doing it” (making soaps) nine years ago, but began making her soaps seriously while she was in the process of adopting her last child. Scents are heavenly and the soaps so attractive – charcoal rose soaps are crowned with crushed roses; black lava sea salt has waves of black sea salt; Maine wood violet, Maine Woods hunter, coconut lime verbena, peppermint, lavender and sea salt; Atlantic sea moss (harvested off Bar Harbor) … So many to choose from.

Francis and Theresa Malinowski of Gardiner have been restoring trunks since 1990 after being shown how to restore them by an acquaintance. The Fall Foliage Festival was their final hurrah, so to speak, After this past weekend they retired from trunk sales. But they had some beauties – some flat for a coffee table, others for storing the practical and keepsakes.

Another vendor, Bold Coast Remaker, I think … this owner recycles denim jeans into handbags, wall hangings, and throws. One wall hanging included the gorgeous floral embroidery that was on the jeans. The fun part is, she uses the waist of the jeans and ties them with a cloth belt; you remember doing that, right? Back in the early-mid ’70s, we used bandanas and scarves as belts, well … some of us did ...

The Festival drew huge crowds and the musical line up was fantastic. While I was there Saturday afternoon, it was Sky Blue Canoe – singer/songwriter Vanessa Jones played violin, mandolin, and guitar,while singer Jerry Adams entertained with a stand-up bass and guitar. Sensational folk and Americana music.

If you missed the Festival this year, well, you missed a great one. But, never fear … the Fall Foliage Festival will return next October!