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Heather Steeves

mainetoday.com content producer Heather Steeves tries to do things that are fun -- and only things that are fun. So far that's included stilt walking, roller derby, cross-country road trips in her Saturn and digging through the Portland Press Herald archives for old photos of the state's most awkward Mainers.

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Things to do This week





Posted: March 22, 2014

25 can’t-miss spring events in Maine

Written by: Heather Steeves - staff writer - hsteeves@mainetoday.com

Spring is for falling in love, hiking, tending the garden, catching a baseball game, and finally cleaning out that darn garage (really, this time). Here are 25 events happening in Maine this spring:

I hear there will be maple lollipops at some farms this year. Yum. Portland Press Herald file photo by Tim Greenway.

March 23: Maine Maple Sunday

More than 80 farms and sugarhouses around the state | www.getrealmaine.com
Maple syrup farms across the state demonstrate first-hand how sap is turned into our favorite sugary topping. And let’s not forget the maple syrup ice cream, the pancake breakfasts, the maple syrup cotton candy, the maple hot dogs…

March 28-29: Dumont Cup pro-am free skiing competition

Sunday River, Newry | www.sundayriver.com
Pros from around the world will ski alongside 200 of the best amateur skiers out there. They do all sorts of flips and tricks, so it’s worth watching even if you’re not a ski bum yourself.

Dan Donahue a Maine Guide from North Country Rivers used a horn of birch bark to mimic a bull moose call back in 2006. Portland Press Herald file photo by Doug Jones.

March 29: Moose-calling competition

Augusta Civic Center | www.maineguides.org
The Maine Professional Guides Association takes its moose calling competitions pretty seriously. This contest is a qualifying round for a chance at the moose-calling champs June 14 in Presque Isle. Contestants get 7-10 minutes to impersonate a sexy cow moose. You’ll be judged on the quality of your call, stage presence and “other attraction techniques.” So wear your moose lingerie.

Portland Press Herald file photo by Gordon Chibroski.

March 29-31: Get into Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens for free

Boothbay | www.mainegardens.org/
The gardens are free until April, and this year-round garden has something to see in every season (although we’d all like to see some budding trees and flowers, wouldn’t we?).

March 30: Seed swap

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s headquarters, Unity | www.mofga.org
Gardeners will want to check out this all-seed flea market. MOFGA will also have a bunch of workshops about orcharding, permaculture and seed saving. You’ll want to bring any seeds and cuttings you have. In previous years, MOFGA gave away scionwood from more than 200 fruit varieties. Free.

Portland Press Herald file photo by Derek Davis.

March 30: Firefighters Race and Eat the Chili Cook-off

Sunday River, Newry | www.sundayriver.com
Firefighters will compete in full gear as they race down the mountain carrying a fire hose as a fundraiser for Maine Adaptive Sports and Recreation. The race ends with a chili contest and live entertainment.

Portland Press Herald photo by Gregory Rec.

April 3: Gulf of Maine Seafood Celebration

Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Portland | www.gmri.org
Advance tickets are $35 and will get you some seafood dishes, two alcoholic drinks and desserts – sounds like a bargain. Gulf of Maine Research Institute is hosting the event to educate people on marine life and how partnerships between chefs and fishermen can support sustainability and the local economy. $35 advance, $45 at the door.

April 4-6: Parrothead Festival

Sunday River, Newry | www.sundayriver.com
Jimmy Buffet meets Maine at this annual event at Sunday River. Music, cocktails, and spring skiing all weekend. Don’t miss the Margarita Mix-off or Spam Carving Contest.

April 10-13: Reggae Festival

Sugarloaf, Carrabassett Valley | www.sugarloaf.com
If you love spring skiing and reggae, this is your jam. This festival bills itself as being Maine’s biggest winter music event. Free-$29 for the music, $125 for a room and music and a lift ticket.

Portland Press Herald file photo by John Ewing.

April 19: Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race

Bangor | www.bangormaine.gov
Paddlers set off from the village of Kenduskeag and battle high-water rapids on the way to the finish line in downtown Bangor. $20-$80.

File photos from the Portland Press Herald.

April 19-20: Acadia is free

Acadia National Park | www.nps.gov
For the opening weekend of National Park Week, everyone can visit Acadia for free. Bring a sandwich, go up the park loop, shake your blanket out on Sand Beach, and take in the scenery in one of Maine’s most beautiful spots.

Photo by Yeah Bud! Photography.

April 26: Roller derby

The Expo, Portland | www.facebook.com
Catch the last home bout of Maine Roller Derby’s season. This one will be a double-header. Grab a beer and watch Maine’s B-team take on Vermont before the all stars take the track to battle Essex Junction’s best. $12.

Portland Press Herald photo by Gabe Souza.

April 26: Free Range Music Festival

Belfast | www.facebook.com/freerangemusicfestival
This will be a scaled-down year for this hip, homegrown festival, according to organizers. But depending on the line-up, it might still be worth the trip. In years past, musicians traveled from near and far, representing everything from rock to bluegrass, a capella vocal groups to hip hop. The festival will be full scale in 2015, organizers say.

Portland Press Herald file photo by Gregory Rec.

April 27: Into The Mud race

Gorham Middle School | www.intothemudchallenge.com
You’re guaranteed to get dirty during this 2.5-mile muddy, obstacle course. $35-$40.

Tom Reynolds of Cape Elizabeth flew his kite during the Bug Light Kite Festival in South Portland last year 2013. Portland Press Herlad file photo by Derek Davis.

May 17: Bug Light Kite Festival

Bug Light, South Portland | www.facebook.com
Everyone can fly their kites for free near Bug Light. What a nice way to spend a spring day.
The South Portland Historical Society will have kites for sale and a BBQ. Free.

File photo of the Ebune parade by the Portland Press Herald.

May 18: Tahntay parade

Eastern Promenade, Portland | http://www.tahntay.com
The spring festival Ebune is no more. In its ashes comes Tahntay. The parade is a celebration of spring. The event will have a community potluck before a parade and a party. Free.

May 24-25: Trail Running Festival

New Gloucester | www.pinelandtrails.com
This festival includes some crazy races: run barefoot through the woods in the barefoot 5K, run with your dog on a 5K – or for the hardcore runners, try a 50 mile race through the woods. There’s also a 10K, 25K and 50K. $20-$70 depending on the race.

Portland Press Herald file photo by John Ewing.

May 30-June 1: L.L.Bean Paddlesports Weekend

Flagship Store and Flying Point Paddling Center, Freeport | www.llbean.com
Sure, they want you to buy a kayak while you’re in town, but if you’ve been interested in learning how to perform sea kayak rescue or how to navigate the ocean on a paddleboard, this weekend will offer a bunch of free classes.

A collage of Portland Press Herald file photos from hot air balloon festivals of yesteryear.

May 30-June 1: Piscataquis Heritage Hot Air Balloon Festival

Charles Chase Jr. Memorial Field, Dover-Foxcroft | phhabf.com
Take a ride in a hot air balloon early in the morning or try a night ride – essentially, you will be in one of those glowing lanterns way up in the sky. How romantic.

Kevin Walsh prepared for the 2012 Kennebunkport Festival by trying out his lobster-herb pizza. Portland Press Herald file photo by Gordon Chibroski.

June 3-8: Kennebunkport Festival

Kennebunkport | kennebunkportfestival.com
The best food, wine and art that Maine has to offer are all on display. Many of the events take place in designer homes with a chef and a sommelier for the perfect pairing. $35-$200 depending on the event.
//event details

Greg Frangoulis of Shoestring Theater marched down Exchange St. on stilts during the parade a couple years ago. Portland Press Herald file photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette.

June 8: Old Port Festival

Portland | www.portlandmaine.com
A precursor to summer, the festival will have Maine-made arts and crafts and food from local restaurants. The parade will march down Exchange Street. Free.

Back in 2003, John Bliss hoed the spinach crop free of weeds at Sunrise Acres in Cumberland. He learned farming skills through the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.

June 14: Farm and Homestead Day

Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s headquarters, Unity | www.mofga.org
If you’re thinking of trying to raise goats for the first time or just want to learn how to make a fence, this is the place to be. The Homestead Day is a hands-on skill sharing event. There will be workshops on how to use a sewing machine, harness a draft horse, and grow native herbs. Free.

Portland Press Herald file photo by Derek Davis.

June 16: Southern Maine Pride Parade

Portland | www.facebook.com/SouthernMainePride
Pull on your rainbow boa and dance proudly through the streets. Free.

Back in 2008, Rich Delanoy of Bristol, New Hampshire, played along with the band on stage at a different bluegrass festival in Brunswick, Maine, on a mandolin he made. Portland Press Herald file photo by Gordon Chibroski.

June 18-21: Bluegrass Festival

Litchfield, at the fairgrounds | blisteredfingers.com
You’ll hear banjos, fiddles, and high, lonesome harmonies from national and local bands. You can bring a tent or your VW van to camp for the four days of bluegrass. $15-$80.

File photo by the Portland Press Herald.

June 21: Bangor Beer Festival

Bangor waterfront | www.visitbangormaine.com
Beer! This is the largest Maine-only beer festival, so it’s probably going to be tasty and awesome. $30.

Umpire Jeff Peart, of Manchester, MA., watched as Essex hitter David Viale, of Newburyport, MA., hit a fly ball during the vintage game in 2012. Portland Press Herald file photo by John Ewing.

June 22: Vintage Baseball Game

Pettengill Farm, Freeport | freeporthistoricalsociety.org

Dirigo (Maine) will take on their rivals, Ipswich (Mass), in a vintage baseball game. The teams play according to the 1860 rules. Freeport Historical Society will have beer and hot dogs (you have to be historically accurate, after all) and they’ll explain the rules to you. Also, they’re having an accordion band play. Make sure to bring a chair and $5 for admission.

As always, find a full listing of events in the calendar.

What did we miss? Leave a comment below.


Now for your second course: 11 spring food and drink events in Maine


You read all the event-events we had, but that’s not all.

Susan rounded up all the best food and drink events in Maine.

Because sometimes you want to “do” stuff, but other times you just want to eat stuff.

We have wine, seafood, chocolate, vegetables.
Eat it up.



14 Maine races that put “fun” before “run” – with colors, obstacles and mud


Running hurts and isn’t much fun, but running through the mud? OK!!
You want to hit me with colored cornstarch? I’m in!
I can bounce in an inflatable house and jump in a ball pit? I’ll run anywhere for that!
Because running is hard, but this looks fun anyway


// Comments

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