CAPE ELIZABETH — The Engine One Company Labor Day Art Show at Fort Williams Park has been a town tradition for nearly 50 years.
But the show has been canceled this year, and may be gone forever.
The Engine One Company, a paid, on-call fire company housed at Cape Cottage Station on Shore Road, announced recently that it is discontinuing the event, which has taken place annually on Labor Day weekend for 47 years. No replacement show has been scheduled.
Fire Chief Peter Gleeson said the show was canceled because Engine One members decided they could no longer fund and organize the event, which in turn has supported local charities and the purchase of fire department supplies and equipment.
Gleeson said the company members didn’t have enough time or volunteers to pull the show together this year.
“It takes a lot of energy to put on an art show,” he said. “You either do it right or you don’t do it at all.”
Town Manager Michael McGovern, in an email to the Town Council, said the show was also canceled because fewer artists have been participating in recent years and fewer people are buying their art.
“Further, the present membership of the fire company have interests other than putting on an art show,” he said.
Gleeson said the company isn’t making plans to host the show again.
“They tried to find another organization to host it, but no one could do it,” he said.
McGovern said he hopes the show can be resurrected.
“Perhaps there will be interest after there is greater knowledge that the event is not occurring this year, and the event can resume in a future year,” he told councilors.
The annual, juried event was free to attend and featured more than 100 artists, most from New England, who displayed arts in various mediums and styles around the park.
Artist Rose Kennealy, right, of Cape Elizabeth discusses her work with South Portland resident Nancy Hawes at the Engine One Labor Day Art Show on Sept. 1, 2013, at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth. The show, an annual town tradition for 47 years, has been discontinued.