Ellsworth businesses showing support for lobster industry during Autumn Gold weekend

Published: Sep. 20, 2022 at 6:25 PM EDT
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ELLSWORTH, Maine (WABI) - The annual Autumn Gold Weekend in Ellsworth is a chance to promote shopping local in Downeast Maine,

The theme for the Ellsworth Autumn Gold window and store-front decorating contest this year is “Coastal Fall.”

But many businesses here are using it as an opportunity to let those in the lobstering industry know that many of Ellsworth’s citizens are behind them.

“I mean, we want to keep it as local, and we want the word to get out. We want the lobstermen to, you know, keep going forward. I think it’s important to support the lobstermen this year,” said Lori Tracy, Eye P.A. optician.

“It’s such a big part of our community, especially in coastal Maine. We’ve all got family members and loved ones that are a part of it, and we just felt that it was really, really important to make sure that they know that everybody in the fishing industry is supported by us and their community,” said Kyle McKim, First National Bank VP and regional manager.

Bud Connection owner Barbara Courchesne is part of five generations of lobster fishermen. She worries for the future of the industry with the rising cost of fuel, the declining price of lobster at the dock, and possibly more federal regulations on the way.

“This story is repeated a hundred times down the coast, that it’s family orientated businesses that are passed down generation to generation. And, I really think right now, the younger generations and the generations we’re in should be very worried about their ability to continue and sustain the industry,” said Courchesne.

Businesses showing support for the lobstering industry during Autumn Gold Days say they hope to start a conversation and raise awareness about everything that’s going on right now, and lobster men and women say the lobstering industry affects all Maine people, not just those that live on the coast.

“I really hope people ask, ‘Hey, what’s your window about? Why do you have the names of 11 different boats in your window? Why do you have orange and white buoys?’ It’s a conversation that needs to be had. If we can be the catalyst and put out a little information that helps somebody be aware of what’s happening, then I think that’s only good all around,” said Courchesne.

(BILLY BOB FAULKINGHAM): “It’s such a big part of our economy. That money that we bring in through lobstering goes into everything else we buy. You know, the furniture stores in Bangor, the truck stores in Bangor, all the shops, all that. It has a big effect on everybody, so even if you don’t realize you’re connected to the lobster industry, you are,” said Rep. Billy Bob Faulkingham, R-Winter Harbor, lobsterman.

A winner for the decorating contest will be announced on Sept. 22, but businesses here say this year, it doesn’t really matter who’s awarded first place.

For them, the contest isn’t really about that.