Now in its eighth year, the autumnal food and wine celebration Harvest on the Harbor returns in October with more events, new locations and a touch of Food Network glam.

Run by the Greater Portland Convention and Visitors Bureau, the five-day event is stuffed like a holiday goose. From a stage dinner at the Merrill Auditorium, to a moonlight gala in Scarborough, to a barbecue competition judged by Food Network “Cutthroat Kitchen” star chef Elliot Farmer, there is enough to appease foodies of all stripes.

The favorite event, Maine Lobster Chef of the Year, scheduled for Oct. 23, is already sold out.

Returning champion Stephen Richards of Boothbay Harbor’s Mine Oyster will attempt to hold onto his title, which he nabbed with the longest name in event history: Pumpkin powdered, mascarpone and chestnut crispy polenta bar with roasted fig gastrique, brown butter froth, peppered pancetta chip and 24-hour cold-smoked lobster claw.

Will he tone it down this year? Go simple? Crank it up a few notches?

He’ll have some tough competitors. Matt Ginn of Portland’s raved over EVO, chef Josh Berry of Union in the swank Press Hotel, Isaac Aldrich of Pilot House at Sebasco Harbor Resort, and fresh from taking the Claw Down title, Nicholas Krunkkala of The Thistle Inn are sure to dazzle.

This year’s judges are a well chosen lot: chef Larry Matthews of Back Bay Grill; chef Steve Corry of Five Fifty-Five; chef Harding Lee Smith of The Rooms; Virginia Wright, senior editor of Down East Magazine; and Linda Greenlaw Wessel, Maine captain and author.

In a new twist on the Top of the Crop event, held at The Portland Company also on Friday, Oct. 23, chefs pair with local farmers to create an innovative farm-to-table feed.

Chef Cara Stadler of Bao Bao in Portland; Colin Kelly of Gather in Yarmouth and Tom Sigler of Comida in Rockland, among others, collaborate with Freeport’s Wolfe’s Neck Farm, Winter Hill Farm and Jordan Farm in Cape Elizabeth to wholesome results.

For tickets, visit www.harvestontheharbor.com/tickets or call 772-4994, ext. 233.

Kathleen Pierce

A lifelong journalist with a deep curiosity for what's next. Interested in food, culture, trends and the thrill of a good scoop. BDN features reporter based in Portland since 2013.