PORTLAND, Maine — After nearly 50 years of celebrations, Portland is saying its final goodbye to the city's annual Old Port Festival.
The decision was made public earlier this year but since it was announced, the organization behind the festival has released very little information about exactly why they chose to end it this year.
"It's obviously still popular popular...you can look at the streets and see that they're packed," attendee Karen Sullivan said. "I don't really understand why it's ending."
"The old saying is if it ain't broke don't fix it." Shaun McCarthy said.
McCarthy owns Dock Fore, a bar located in the heart of the festival. He says not only is this festival the first real kick-off to summer but the foot traffic is a huge asset to him and other business owners.
"My liquor license is due in a month," McCarthy said. "Today pays for the city license and the state license...and it's not cheap."
Which is why he took it upon himself to fight back -- creating a petition to stop the Old Port Fest from coming to an end. So far, he says the response has been overwhelming.
"There are people from New York signing them...we had someone here that came from Scotland that signed it the other day," McCarthy said. "Hopefully we can keep it going."
While the future of Portland's Old Port Festival is pretty set in stone, McCarthy and others say they will keep pushing for a different outcome. They hope if they can get more than one-thousand signatures it will prompt city leaders to do something -- because they say this tradition is just too good to lose.
"This is so positive for Portland and just arbitrarily ending it like this is just unconscionable." attendee Brian Haley said.