BAR HARBOR, Maine — A coastal community in Maine is showing its support for the lobster industry this year. The Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce is hosting its first Holiday Lobster Buoy Tree lighting Wednesday afternoon in Harborview Park.
The tree is about 10 feet tall and is made entirely of buoys. Alf Anderson, executive director of the Bar Harbor Chamber of Commerce, said they've received approximately 150 buoys so far, each of them decorated by local community members.
The blank buoys cost $20 each. Each person or business that purchased a buoy is being entered to win a $500 raffle prize. All of the remaining proceeds will then be given to the Maine Lobstermen's Association (MLA).
Anderson said he thinks they'll be able to provide the MLA with a check for more than $1,000 after all of the donations are calculated.
Ongoing legal battles over fishing regulations have thrown the Maine lobster industry in limbo in recent months.
"These are our neighbors, these are our friends, these are business owners, each and every one of them ... and as a chamber of commerce, we wanted to show support for that part of the community that is just vital to the work that we do here," Anderson explained. "I mean, people come from all over the world to spend time in Bar Harbor. One of the main things they want to do when they're here is eat lobster. So, without the lobster fishermen and women, we just wouldn't be able to show this world-class destination and experience to people who come visit here."
Anderson added about 40 of the buoys, donated by businesses in the area, were decorated by students at local elementary schools.
"The community has really rallied around this. We've sold way more than we thought we would in the first year of pulling this together, and we think it's going to be a really great showing of support for those hardworking fishermen that do so much for our community," Anderson said.
Anderson said the event starts Wednesday afternoon at 4:30 in Harborview Park despite the forecasted rain showers.
If you still want to buy and decorate a buoy or donate directly to Maine lobstermen and women, there's still time. Anderson said they'll be accepting buoy donations through Dec. 16.
For more information about the tree lighting and how to donate, click here.
"People I think are gonna be really amazed when they see the artistic talents of the community on these buoys that are on the tree," Anderson said.