Just before the turn of the century, 18 Midcoast creatives — although that moniker had yet to be coined — joined together to create the Country Roads Artists and Artisans Tour, a self-guided network of open studios over the course of a long September weekend. This year’s event, now called the Midcoast Maine Arts & Artisans Tour, will take place Friday through Sunday, Sept. 12 through 14.

The annual tour still entices people to take to the rural roads from Warren to Lincolnville and inland as far as Appleton. Fifteen sites will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day, and luncheon will be served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily in the heart of Hope. While the tour has always been an opportunity to be welcomed into artists’ work places, this year’s Midcoast Maine Arts & Artisans Tour focuses on sharing their processes, as well.

“This year, the tour is offering demos at every site,” said Linda Leach of Camden, who works primarily in polymer clay.

As the tour offers a wide variety of media, the demonstrations will range widely, as well. Tour sites will offer ceramics, glass, wood, jewelry, sculpture, textiles, metal, fine art, photography, mixed media and more. Avi Good of Michael Good Gallery, who coordinates the event, said it is always a pleasure to see the people who come by and to chat with them “about what we make and how we do it.”

This year’s participating artists and artisans are: in Camden, Brookside Studio (Kathy Ocariz), Enamels by Stell, Chris McLarty and Debra Thuss and the Mountain Side Arts League; Rockport, Silvery Moon Studios (Jay Hoagland), FairCape Woodworks (Clive and Odette Brown), The Maine Beehive (Antje Roitzsch and Lori Lacey), Michael Good Studio (with guest Mimi Steadman), Rockport Pottery, and Stephen Florimbi; Lincolnville, Arts @ The Center (Randy Fein and Paul Kluger); Hope, Benjamin Leavitt Metalwork Inc. and Chris Pinchbeck; Appleton, Stephen Gleasner and Wood & Light Woodturning (Richard Dunham); and Warren, Stemwinder Sculpture Garden (Jay Sawyer).

The drive to demo adds an extra challenge for Leach and her fellow Mountain Side Arts League artists, who are bringing a new facet to this year’s tour. Rather than being an open studio, the League’s home-based members are collaborating to present their work under tents and offer demos in the gazebo of Mountain Side Park, a 55-and-older manufactured home community just off Route 52 in Camden.

Leach ran the idea by longtime tour member Deb Thuss, who also works in polymer clay, and “she said sure, you should go for it!” Tour participants are juried into the annual event, and the many-together cooperative was approved, as long as they comprised one location. As several live at Mountain Side, they approached owner Stuart Welch, who gave his approval … and hopes to have a new home for show just down the street.

“It’s a real neighborhood here; we’ve had barbecues at this gazebo,” said Leach a week before the tour, as most of the League gathered for a photo.

Mountain Side Art League members are polymer clay artist Leach and her art business partner Sandy Clement, who will show paintings; Penny Gentle, offering handmade earrings made from copper; Tammy Hare, who knits and then felts woolen handbags; Chris Benner, who knits wearables and specializes in argyle patterns; photographer Nancy Shibles; and Ken and Carolyn Dirkes, who work in several media. Carolyn makes ribbon embroidery “paintings,” and Ken — who many will remember as the longtime Maine Lobster Festival’s Fudge Man — creates miniature models using found materials. These range from boats and wharf tableaux to tiny outhouses, complete with miniscule paper rolls inside the door.

“As far as demos go, we’ll have something going on all weekend,” said Leach.

Also going on all weekend will be the fundraising luncheon to keep tour-takers fueled for the fun event. Partners for Enrichment will be set up across from the Hope General Store, at the intersection of routes 105 and 235. The menu will include hamburgers, hot dogs, curried chicken salad and other entree selections, as well as cold drinks, chips and freshly homemade pies cakes, and cookies. All proceeds will go to the nonprofit organization, which helps to bring arts and science enrichment to the Hope, Appleton and Lincolnville K-8 schools.

The Arts League is not the only group participant; there are several artist pairings. Participating studios and sites are marked by bright pink banners and are well mapped in the Midcoast Maine Arts & Artisans Tour brochure, available at the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce (in Camden and Rockland), from participating artists (including on tour days) or by calling Good at 594-2580. The event’s website, artisanstour.org, has links to available artist websites. Most are open to visitors all year, some are by appointment and others in regular hours. The second weekend of September, however, all doors — and gazebos — are open.