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Posted: September 12, 2017

Can’t-miss fall events in Maine

Make this your best fall yet by working your way through this list of fantastic happenings!

Written by: Staff Reports


Whether it was the best summer of your life or the dullest, we can probably all agree that there’s nothing quite like autumn in Maine. Some days are summer-like, others are crisp and cool, and sometimes we even see snowflakes. These next several weeks remind us of the glory of living here and allow us to be outside and get our fill of fresh air before the deep freeze of winter sends some of us diving in front of the fireplace. There’s no shortage of fantastic fall events to keep you entertained, busy, amused and out and about all over the state. Here, we’re highlighting a few of our favorites.

Sept. 20 – 24: Acadia Night Sky Festival

Various locations in Acadia National Park |
From workshops to speakers to hands-on experiences, the 9th annual Acadia Night Sky Festival is a glorious handful of days in one of Maine’s most perfect locales; Acadia National Park.  You’ll be dazzled by the Milky Way and other celestial marvels and will fully appreciate the lack of light pollution.  Did we mention that one of events is a bioluminescent & star gazing paddle?

"Hey lady, how about a massage, eh?" Portland Press Herald photo of the Common Ground Fair. Photo by John Ewing.

“Hey lady, how about a massage, eh?”
Staff photo by John Ewing

Sept. 22-24: Common Ground Country Fair

Unity | $10 in advance, $15 at the gate for adults, for elders: $8 in advance, $10 at the gate, free for children and persons with disabilities, $2 off for riding your bike! |
This is the place you can learn how to turn acorns into flour, learn how to perform accupressure and shiatsu on your horse or watch the ever-popular sheep dog demonstrations. Homesteaders might get a kick out of  classes about seed saving, easy winemaking (and how to grow your own grapes in Maine) and how to buy an old tractor. This is the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s big weekend, so expect to find delicious local food, handmade everything and lots and lots of animals.

Sept. 22-24: Great Maine BBQ Challenge

Bass Park, Bangor | $10 to $35|
The Great Maine BBQ Challenge will be a gathering of 30 pit-masters and their teams who will be vying for your taste buds attention all weekend long. All of your pulled pork, brisket and ribs dreams can come true. 45 sanctioned judges from all over the U.S. will be convening in Bangor and $20,000 in prizes will be awarded. You’ll also hear live blues music and will swallow with a smile on your face as all proceeds go to Eastern Maine Children’s Hospitals. Did we mention there’s a beer tent?

Sept. 24: Still Summer Block Party

1 to 6 p.m. | Maine Craft Distilling, 123 Washington Ave., Portland | $12 in advance , $15 day of, 12 and under free|
Ignore the calendar and give summer one last bear hug by hitting the Still Summer Block Party. Maine Craft Distilling will be wetting your whistle and local food vendors will heep your bellies full. You’ll spend the afternoon re-hashing with friends the highlights of this summer while listening to the tunes of The Mallett Brothers Band, Xander Nelson and Spencer Albee. The days are getting shorter, the air is growing just a little bit colder but you can make this an endless summer by hitting this party.

Sept. 30: 14th Annual Maine Lakes Brewfest

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. | Point Sebago Resort, 123 Washington Ave., Portland | $35, $5 for non-drinkers, 21-plus|
Live music? Check! More than 35 brewers with 100 varities of beer and wine? Check! Artisan’s Craft Show? Check! Tons of food from 15 vendoers? Check! All that’s missing from the Maine Lakes Brewfest is you! What’s more, you don’t have to worry about the weather because this entire thing is under a tent and you’ll be right on Sebago Lake for this early fall afternoon of awesomeness. So raise your souvenir sampling glass (included with ticket) and enjoy unlimited sampling.

Benjamin Roche, 19 months, of Sanford roams around the petting zoo at Old McDonal's Farm at the Fryeburg Fair Wednesday, October 7, 2015. Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

Benjamin Roche, 19 months, of Sanford roams around the petting zoo at Old McDonal’s Farm at the Fryeburg Fair Wednesday, October 7, 2015.
Staff photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette

October 1-8: Fryeburg Fair

Fryeburg Fairgrounds | $12 admission, seniors free on Tuesday, free for under 12 |
It’s Maine’s largest agricultural fair, and it happens to be one of the most scenic, too, on account of the fall leaves and mountains and whatnot. Fryeburg Fair features eight days of entertainment, livestock, an agricultural exhibition center, crafts, a flower show, educational exhibitions & demonstrations, and more. Not to mention the midway with amusement rides and oh-so-wonderful fair food.

Rebecca Packard, 8, of Durham takes a look at a painted pumpkin created by Hannah Boone at the 2010 Pumpkinfest in Damariscotta. Photographed on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010. Staff photo by Derek Davis

Rebecca Packard, 8, of Durham takes a look at a painted pumpkin created by Hannah Boone at the 2010 Pumpkinfest in Damariscotta. Photographed on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010.

Staff photo by Derek Davis

Oct. 6 – 9: Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta

Downtown Damariscotta |
Visit Damariscotta over Columbus Day weekend and you’re sure to start seeing orange. The main attractions of this annual midcoast event include the Giant Pumpkin Parade on Saturday afternoon, the Pumpkin Catapult and Giant Pumpkin Drop on Sunday and, on Monday, the Pumpkin Regatta, in which boats made of hollowed-out pumpkins – some with motors attached – race to win the Golden Gourd. There’s also pumpkin carving, a pumpkin dessert contest, a pumpkin derby, a pumpkin pancake breakfast and a pumpkin pie-eating contest.


Miles and Kate Egbert from Michigan lead Jason and Robin Esposito from Wells River, Vt. through the water hazard during the 13th annual North American Wife Carrying Championship at Sunday River in Newry, Maine Sat. Oct. 6, 2012
Staff photo by John Patriquin

Oct. 7: Wife-Carrying Championships

Sunday River, Newry | $50 to enter, only 50 contestants allowed |
It’s no easy feet, carrying a wife over a 278-yard obstacle course featuring hurdles, sand traps, and a mud pit (they call it a “water hazard). But plenty of husband-and-wife teams will try.  The winner takes homes the wife’s weight in Goose Island Oktoberfest beer,  five times her weight in cash and an entry into the World Championship happening in Finland next summer.

Oct. 7 – 9: 50th Annual Fall Foliage Festival

Boothbay Railway Village, Boothbay |$4, 12 and under free, $5 for steam train tickets |
Live entertainment, an incredible handmade marketplace, tons of tasty edibles and of course the throwback fun of riding the steam train. All of this is waiting for you at the 50th annual Fall Foliage Festival.  There’s also a pumpkin carving contest so brush up on your skills.

Oct. 7: Swine & Stein

Downtown Gardiner | $15 in advance, $20 day of, $10 designated driver |
It’s the place where pork products and craft beer are celebrated the way they should be: Together. The 4th annual Swine & Stein promises farm-to-table pork (get your pig on bread, plate, or stick) and other local offerings, Maine craft beers, and a lineup of local live music from Maine bands. PLUS: Theannual Maine Rock, Paper, Scissors Championship and annual Gardiner Beard & Mustache Competition!

Oct. 14: Fall Festival

Wolfe’s Neck Farm, Freeport | $8, under 3 free (admission includes all activities) |
Celebrate fall on the oceanfront with pumpkin hayrides and other family-friendly activiites like apple pressing, felted acorns, making seed pots, hay people, fairy house building, face painting, leaf rubbing and more. You can also say hello to farm animals including calves, sheep, goats, chickens and ducks. Live music will be happening all day from Matt Loosigian, Steamboat Gypsy and Married With Chitlins and several local food trucks will be on site.


Staff photo by Jill Brady

Staff photo by Jill Brady

Oct. 21: Pumpkin Festival

L.L. Bean Flagship Campus, 95 Main St., Freeport | free |
It’s all about the pumpkins at the annual Camp Sunshine Pumpkin Festival on the L.L. Bean campus in Freeport. You’ll see literally thousands of jack-o-lanterns, and there will be a world of family fun with kids’ games, pumpkin carving, live music, face painting, a costume parade and more. Be sure to be there for the 5 p.m. lighting of approximately 10,000 pumpkins around Freeport, which will be quite a sight to see. You can also duck into the Cauldron Cafe for tasty pumpkin treats and hit the Boo-tique for festival swag.

Oct. 21, 22 & 28-29: Pumpkin Train

Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum, Portland | $10, $9 seniors, $6 kids, 2 and under free|
All aboard! That’s right, it’s time to ride the Pumpkin Train! Kids can explore the museum and decorate a miniature pumpkin to bring home and you’ll all be treated to hot cider and cookies. The best part is of course climbing aboard the train for a ride along Casco Bay.

Staff photo by Brianna Soukup

Staff photo by Brianna Soukup

Oct 17-22: Harvest on the Harbor

Multiple locations in Portland |
Foodies wait all year for this event and with good reason. Harvest on the Harbor’s event’s lineup includes the Flavors of Maine grand tasting event, Maine Lobster Chef of the Year competition, Harvest Happy Hour, Market on the Harbor and Harvest Crawl self-guided tasting tour. If this list is making you hungry you had best jump on tickets because they tend to go fast.

Oct 21: Ghostport

Bucksport |
From the Lil’ Goblins Parade down Main Street to the “race to the grave” coffin race, Bucksport is the Halloween place to be. The best part of this event, aside from the costumes and fireworks, is the opportunity to launch your pumpkin into the Penobscot with the trebuchet.

Eugene Put/

Eugene Put/

Nov. 4: WMPG Record Sale

USM Portland Sullivan Gym |
It’s a vinyl lover’s paradise in Portland at the annual WMPG Record Sale. Thousands upon thousands of records from every genre you can think of (and many you’ve likely never heard of) will be available from dozens of dealers. The WMPG section alone takes up half the gym so be prepared to take some deep dives into stacks of treasures for you and the record lovers in your life.

Nov. 5-11: Portland Beer Week

Various venues, Portland |
Beer deserves its own week. If it’s anything like last year , events could include Pumpkin-Palooza for you pumpkin-beer fans, the annual Maine Brewers Festival, tap takeovers, beer dinners and more.


Staff photo by Gordon Chibroski

Staff photo by Gordon Chibroski

Nov. 11: Rolling Slumber Bed Races

Downtown Brunswick |
If you’re going to get out of bed in the morning, shouldn’t it be to get back into bed and race it down the street (perhaps while dressed as a pirate, chicken, or Matthew Thornton – one of the lesser-known Founding Fathers and the final signer of the Declaration of Independence)? Local businesses compete in a race you rarely see: One with beds on wheels. And there will be costumes, themes, and judges.

Nov. 11 – 12: Maine Harvest Festival

Cross Insurance Center, Bangor |
The Maine Potato Board presents the 7th annual Maine Harvest Festival which brings together farmers, food processors, brewers, fiber artisans, chefs, presenters and fans of all the above for a two-day celebration. Expect a whole lot of sampling and cooking demos along with educational seminars and a giant marketplace.

"Dr. Freakinstein" of Motor Booty Affair Staff photo by Joe Phelan

“Dr. Freakinstein” of Motor Booty Affair
Staff photo by Joe Phelan

Nov. 17: Fall Booty Bash

Ramada Conference Center, 490 Pleasant St., Lewiston | $10|
Shake your groove thing in Lewiston aka Funkytown. Motor Booty Affair’s Fall Booty Bash will have you dancing into the wee hours. This band means business when it comes to helping you forget about your troubles with its throwback disco tribute show. Head to the back of your closet or hit the thrift shops for your finest polyester threads and get ready to get down. From “Brick House” to “Jive Talkin’,” “Play That Funky Music” and “Dancing Queen,” this band has the skills, the attitude and the colorful wigs to make this a supremely fun night.

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