The nonprofit Farnsworth Art Museum, Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta, Maine Maritime Museum and Boothbay Railway were recently awarded a $10,000 marketing grant from the Maine Office of Tourism to launch Maine’s Pumpkin Trail. Maine’s Pumpkin Trail includes family-friendly activities along a 50- mile stretch of Maine’s coast including the communities of Rockland, Damariscotta, Boothbay and Bath through the end of October.

The partnership grew out of a smaller collaboration between the Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta and the Boothbay Railway Village. In January, volunteers of the Damariscotta event — which takes place over Columbus Day weekend and includes the Pumpkinboat Regatta, Giant Pumpkin Parade, Pumpkin Derby and a pumpkin catapult and giant slingshot — called a meeting in January of 2016 with the Farnsworth, Boothbay Railway Village and Maine Maritime Museum. The partners developed and expanded their programs for the fall. All three museums planted Atlantic Giant Pumpkins on their campuses this summer.

Maine Maritime Museum's Boatshop hopes to use its pumpkin to create their entry for Damariscotta's annual Pumpkinboat Regatta. Boothbay Railway Village will have a local artist carve its giant pumpkins during the 49th annual Fall Foliage Festival. And the Farnsworth Art Museum will feature its giant pumpkin the Oct. 7 First Friday Art Walk.

During the 5 to 8 p.m. art walk, the Farnsworth Art Museum will host a free community event to celebrate the opening of its “Art of Disaster” exhibition. The evening will feature treats, music, interactive photo displays and multiple “pumpkin disasters.” First Fridays at the Farnsworth is sponsored by First National Bank and features free admission to the public; during First Friday Art Walks, visitors may access the galleries through the Main Street doors, as well as through the Museum Street lobby, the Museum Store and the Wyeth Center at the corner of Union and Grace streets.

Although autumn on the Midcoast has seen overnight visitor growth in recent years, there remains an opportunity to increase occupancy even more. The timing of the Maine’s Pumpkin Trail partnership is strategic because economic growth in this time period is crucial for seasonal businesses “and our efforts will benefit the maximum number of properties,” said Katie Meyers, marketing director at Maine Maritime Museum. The partners, with financial support from the Maine Office of Tourism through the Tourism Enterprise Grant Program, have advertising running for Maine’s Pumpkin Trail in Massachusetts and New Hampshire, as well as Southern Maine. To learn more about Maine’s Pumpkin Trail, check out its Facebook page.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or dernest@courierpublicationsllc.com.