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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or saxelrod@mainetoday.com On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: June 8, 2015

9 Maine food and drink events to jump start your summer

Written by: Susan Axelrod

It’s June (deep, grateful sigh), which in Maine means the days are (mostly) warm enough to be outside without a jacket, boats are being launched and feet are slipping back into flip-flops. It’s also the most event-heavy season of the year, with food and drink-focused happenings taking advantage of the good weather and the lull before high tourist season arrives.


Maine Summer Guide: Camping, beaches, can’t miss events, festivals & more


Setting and food at Wells Reserve at Laudholm, Kennebunkport Festival 2014. Photos by Ted Axelrod

Setting and food at Wells Reserve at Laudholm, Kennebunkport Festival 2014. Photos by Ted Axelrod

Kennebunkport Festival

Monday, June 8 – Saturday, June 13  | kennebunkportfestival.com
Various venues in and around Kennebunkport
One of Maine’s most impressive annual food events, the festival features a who’s who of local chefs, musicians and artists. While the more intimate dinners are sold out, tickets are still available for some events, including three of the bigger bashes on Saturday: the Grand Tapas Party ($65); Brews & Tunes ($15) and Grand Finale ($140).  The festival benefits Full Plates Full Potential, which aims to eliminate student hunger in Maine.

First Fruits Prom

Friday, June 19 | 8-11 p.m. | $10 | oxbowbeer.com
Oxbow Blending & Bottling, 49 Washington Ave., Portland
Relive that magical night from high school — and this time you get to drink beer legally! Oxbow is celebrating the release of its First Fruits, a blend of barrel-aged fruit beers, with a prom-themed party at their Portland tasting room. Wear your best sparkly dress or tux (or sparkly tux?), shake your booty to tunes from DJ Hiduke and snack from the fruit pie bar provided by Tandem Bakery. Ticket includes admission and 1 glass of First Fruits.

Great Falls Brewfest

Saturday, June 20 | Noon – 5 p.m. | $20 (designated driver) – $60 (VIP) | greatfallsbrewfest.com
Simard-Payne Memorial Park, Lewiston
More than 30 breweries are participating in this second-annual “celebration of the outdoors, brewing, summer and the great falls community,” hosted by Lewiston’s own Baxter Brewing. There will be food trucks, art, crafts, a cornhole tournament, rock wall, and music by The Alternate Routes and Spencer Albee.

Bangor’s Beerfestival — Tap into Summer

Saturday, June 20 | 1 – 5 p.m. (VIP starts at noon) | $25 (designated driver) – $50 (VIP) | visitbangormaine.com
Bangor Waterfront
Twenty Maine breweries, live music, a chance to chat with the brewers, and of course, tasting.

Courtesy photo

Courtesy photo

Allagash Victoria Ale Premier

Friday, June 26 | 5:30 – 8:30 p.m. | $35 ($28 for Mansion members) | victoriamansion.org
Victoria Mansion, 109 Danforth St., Portland
Join the brewers from Allagash Brewery at Victoria Mansion, a National Historic Landmark, for the un-casking of Allagash Brewing’s 2015 Victoria Ale, a Belgian-style ale brewed with white wine grapes in the mash. Held outdoors on the Mansion’s private lawn, the event includes unlimited tastings of Allagash ales and other beverages, food, and tours of Victoria Mansion. The Pete Kilpatrick Band will perform throughout the evening. Proceeds from the brew’s annual limited release are donated to benefit Victoria Mansion’s historic preservation and education mission.

MaineFare

Friday and Saturday, June 26 and 27 | 9 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Saturday | Free-$20 per event | maine-fare.org
Steamboat Landing Park Boathouse, 34 Commercial St., Belfast
Make fermented vegetables, Maine crab cakes, and cheese; take part in seminars about food issues; tour gardens and farms; taste oysters and beer: these are just a sampling of the events scheduled for the two-day festival. Guest chefs include Melissa Kelly of Primo, Kerry Altiero of Cafe Miranda, and Brian Hill of Shepherd’s Pie and Francine Bistro. There’s also an open-air market, a kids tent and music.

Chef David Turin, far right, of David’s Restaurants with some of his crew, including bar manager Patrick Ryan Morang, far left, at the 2012 Taste of the Nation. Photo by Ted Axelrod for Share Our Strength Maine

Chef David Turin, far right, of David’s Restaurants with some of his crew, including bar manager Patrick Ryan Morang, far left, at the 2012 Taste of the Nation.
Photo by Ted Axelrod for Share Our Strength Maine

Share our Strength’s Taste of the Nation Maine

Sunday, June 28 | 4 p.m. (VIP reception at 3 p.m.) | $100 ($175 for VIP) | tasteofthenation.org/maine
Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth
In a seaside setting offering breathtaking views of the Portland Head Light and the open Atlantic, more than 30 of Maine’s top restaurants will offer their signature dishes, accompanied by wine, beer and cocktails. In addition to being a great time, the 10th annual event makes a big difference in the lives of the 1 in 4 children in Maine who don’t know where their next meal is coming from.

MaineToday.com file photo

Noshbow 2013. MaineToday.com file photo

NoshBow Block Party

Sunday, June 28 | 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. | Pay-as-you-go | noshkitchenbar.com
Oak Street, Portland
Nosh Kitchen Bar, Oxbow Brewing and ReSession Skateboard Shop get together for the third-annual epic block party, featuring tunes, art and food trucks, including Fire and Company and Hella Good Tacos.

Cellardoor at Home Smackdown Cooking Competition

Sunday, June 28 | Noon – 4 p.m. | $50 | mainewine.com
Cellardoor Winery, 367 Youngtown Rd., Lincolnville
Seven finalists will compete for bragging rights in Cellardoor Winery’s first recipe competition, featuring their Cellardoor at Home products. Held under a tent in the vineyard, the event includes bites by Trillium Caterers paired with wine, a Bubble Bar (sparkling wine), oysters and more.


Farm dinners

At these dinners the food served has been sourced from a few feet away or just up the road. It’s farm-to-table at its finest.

Five places to dine down on the farm in Maine this summer


 

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