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Shannon Bryan

Shannon Bryan has a fondness for Maine’s peculiar goings on. And helmet cams. There’s definitely a fondness for helmet cams.   Since she arrived in Maine 10 years ago, it’s been her mission to experience it all firsthand – from the cardboard boat races to the paddleboard jousting tournaments. With any luck, she’ll persuade you to try it, too.

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Posted: March 23, 2015

Spring events: 25+ can’t-miss things to do this spring in Maine

Written by: Shannon Bryan

Spring is for falling in love (awww). But mostly it’s about hiking and kite flying and finally being able to drink a beer on an outdoor patio again. Here are a bunch of events happening this Maine Spring 2015 (which couldn’t come fast enough!).

Also: It’s SPRING! Pier fries, lobster, Sea Dogs & more spring openings to look forward to!

March 29: Mary’s Walk & Kerrymen Pub 5k

Noon March 29 (5K start at noon, Mary’s Walk at 12:15 p.m.), starts at Thornton Academy, Saco. Raise donations.
Mary’s Walk is held in conjunction with the Kerrymen Pub 5K and has raised over $1.8 million for the Maine Cancer Foundation. After your speedy run or spirited walk, head over to Kerrymen Pub for awards and a bunch of food (and hey, if you end up inside for a pint and some live music, no one will judge).

John Kershner /

John Kershner /

April 4: Pillow Fight Day

3 to 4:30 p.m. April 4, Monument Square, Portland. Free.
It’s not okay to hit strangers. Unless you both have pillows and have agreed to hit each other, Portland Pillow Fight Day asks pillow-swingers from around the area to show up to Monument Square at 3 p.m. with a pillow in hand and dressed in the proper theme: spring/Easter. Best costume wins $100, and everyone wins a good time, amiright?!!

April 3-5: Parrothead Festival

All day April 3, 4 and 5, Sunday River, Newry.
Jimmy Buffet meets Maine at this annual event at Sunday River. Sure, there will be snow, but there will also be tropical tunes, margarita mix-offs, a Spam-carving contest, and pond skimming, just like Jimmy Buffet would want it.

Press Herald file photo

April 9: Sea Dog’s Opening Day

6 p.m. April 9, Hadlock Field, Portland. Tickets $5-$11.
Spring isn’t really spring until you’ve seen your first baseball game. Catch the Sea Dogs’ home opener against the Fightin Phils (and don’t forget to get a Sea Dogs Biscuit.

April 9: Toast on the Coast

6 to 9 p.m. April 9, Ocean Gateway, Portland. $100.
Gourmet fare. Fine wines. Sunset. There will be plenty to eat and drink at this benefit for Easter Seals Maine, and you’ll als get to cast your vote for the best dish.

April 9-123: Reggae Festival

Sugarloaf, Carrabassett Valley.
If you love spring skiing and reggae, this is your jam. This festival bills itself as being Maine’s biggest winter music event. Buy a “Good Vibes Pass” for $25 in advance and $35 at the door for access to all the goings on in the King Pine Room and Widowmaker Lounge. Some shows free, cover charge for others.

Cake Pops made by Flour Designs make a colorful display at the annual Chocolate Lover's Fling in years past. Jill Brady/Press Herald file photo

Cake Pops made by Flour Designs make a colorful display at the annual Chocolate Lover’s Fling in years past. Jill Brady/Press Herald file photo

April 12: Chocolate Lover’s Fling

1 to 4 p.m., Holiday Inn by the Bay, Portland. $50.
When’s the last time someone served you chocolate? Local chocolatiers from York and Cumberland counties will be making their tastiest, most creative chocolate treats, which will be brought right to your table – no loitering in long lines and plenty of time to savor each piece.

April 17: 80s Fun on the Bay

6 to 10:20 p.m. April 17, aboard Casco Bay Lines, Portland. $25.
This year’s inter-island cruise has an 80s theme (which means you’re obliged to dress up in your awesomest 80s attire! Yes!) Music from From the Ashes and heavy apps from The Inn on Peaks Island.

Portland Press Herald file photo by John Ewing.

April 18: Kenduskeag Stream Canoe Race

Starts at 8:30 a.m. April 18, Kenduskeag. $20 person in advance, $40 per person day of.
Paddlers set off from the village of Kenduskeag and battle high-water rapids on the way to the finish line in downtown Bangor. There are open, recreational and beginner classes for this race, and afterward, lots of chili and chowder (and a warming tent).

File photos from the Portland Press Herald.

April 18-19: Acadia is free

Acadia National Park. Free admission.
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.

Portland Press Herald photo by Gregory Rec

April 29: Gulf of Maine Seafood Celebration

5:30 to 7:30 p.m. April 29, Gulf of Maine Research Institute, Portland. $55 advance, $65 at the door.
Eat an awesome variety of Gulf of Maine seafood dishes featuring redfish, whiting, scallops and more. Your ticket also includes two drinks and dessert. 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.

Portland Press Herald file photo by Gregory Rec.

May 3: Into The Mud Challenge

8 a.m. (registration and packet pickup) 10:45 a.m. wave #1 begins, Gorham Middle School, Gorham. $35, $40 day of (if available).
You’re guaranteed to get dirty during this 2.5-mile muddy, obstacle course. The 2.5-mile course includes a bunch of obstacles and loads and loads of mud.

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

May 16: Bug Light Kite Festival

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 16, Bug Light Park, South Portland. Free.
Kite flyers know: Bug Light Park is one of the best kite-flying locations in New England. Bring your kite if you’ve got one or purchase one at the South Portland Historical Society’s museum gift shop. Kite-flying experts will be on hand for tips and workshops, and there will also be food and drinks on sale, as well as a barbecue at the museum. And Bug Light will be open for tours.

Richard Thornton / Shutterstock

Richard Thornton / Shutterstock

May 16-17: Cornville 10-Mile Yard Sale

8 a.m. to 5 pm.May 16 and 17, West Ridge Road, Cornville. Free to browse.
Imagine the biggest yard sale you’ve ever seen. Now multiply it by 100. The annual 10-Mile Yard Sale in Cornville didn’t start out this big, but it continues to grow every year (and it’s rain or shine). Bring cash and clear out the trunk of the car. Who know what treasures you’ll bring home.

Heroes of Humanity graphic

Heroes of Humanity graphic

May 16: Heroes of Humanity MayDay Mission

9 a.m. May 16, starts in downtown Westbrook. $75.
Think you know Westbrook? You’ll certainly get a good look at it during the Mayday Mission,a scavengar hunt throughout the city that will have you searching in the city forest, trails and downtown. You and your team will gather clues and complete challenges to find the ultimate prize: over $1000 of silver hidden throughout the course.

May 16: Rappel for Rippleffect

Rappelling goes on all day May 16, One City Center, Portland. Raise $1000 in pledges.
Once again, intrepid locals have the chance to rappel down the side of One City Center, a 13-story office building in downtown Portland. The event is a fundraising effort for Rippleffect, a local nonprofit dedicated to youth and community development through experiential education and outdoor adventure. And this will be quite the adventure for you.

Portland Press Herald file photo by Gabe Souza.

May 16: All Roads Music Festival

May 16, Multiple venues through Belfast. $20/$25 in advance, $25/$30 at the door.
The All Roads Music Festival is a one-day festival featuring indie rock, folks, pop and bluegrass musicians. Catch live music at multiple venues in town, like Colonial Theatre, the Belfast Free Library, the American Legion Hall, Waterfall Arts and others.

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

May 17: Tahntay parade & celebration

11 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 17, Eastern Promenade, Portland. Free.
The afternoon begins with a community picnic (bring a blanket and something to share) along with face painting, crown making, music and magic. Join the parade at 1 p.m. (carry a puppet or bring your own props).

May 23: Run For Your Life obstacle course challenge

May 23, Camden Snow Bowl, Camden. May 23. $50.
“It’s only 5K” might be a phrase to help you through this … because it’s up a mountain, but also you’ll be expected to do firefighter moves along the way. Obstacles might include jumping over fire, Tarzan-swinging over a river, carrying something heavy up the mountain and solving puzzles. The Run For Your Life race is trying to raise awareness about how many local emergency services, like fire stations, rely on a shrinking pool of volunteers.

Portland Press Herald file photo by Gordon Chibroski

May 23-25: Maine Days at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens

9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 23, 24 and 25, Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay.
Admission is free to the stunning grounds of Maine Botanical Gardens during this weekend. Just present your Maine license or ID and then peruse the gardens all day.

May 23-24: Trail Running Festival

Races May 23 and 24, Pineland Farms, New Gloucester.
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.

May 30 & 31: Dynamic Dirt Challenge

Family fest May 30, race May 31 starting at 8 a.m., Pineland Farms, New Gloucester. $60-65.
Imagine obstacles like the log leap, tire hurdles and other CrossFit-sounding quests. This year’s race is 2.5 miles, but it’s not the distance you need to worry about. It’s the mud. Bonus: There’s a beer tent with one free pint for each runner, free snacks and a live band. You can run the trails alone or do it with a team.

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

June 7-13: Kennebunkport Festival

Multiple venues, Kennebunkport |
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.

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 7: Maine Women’s Ride

Departing between 7:20 a.m. and 9:20 a.m., depending on the route, L.L. Bean Casco Conference Center, Freeport. $45 adults, $25 youth.
This one’s for the women who ride – even the ones who are new to the sport. Route range in distance (10 miles, 25 miles, 50 miles and 62 miles), so there’s a scenic Freeport route for all experience levels. Stops and snacks along the way, and music, yoga, and munchies at the start and finish line.

June 11: Twilight 5K

7 p.m. June 11, start at Southern Maine Community College, South Portland.
Racers must raise at least $100.
Spoiler alert: Despite the name, there will be no sparkly vampires. This race starts after 5 p.m. — perfect. You can go to work, truck on over and then run. This one raises money for Maine Cancer Foundation and gives runners peaks of Casco Bay along the way.

June 14: Old Port Festival

June 14, Old Port, Portland. Free admission.
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.

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 13: Farm and Homestead Day

All day June 13, Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association’s headquarters, Unity. Free.
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.

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. Press Herald file photo by Gordon Chibroski.

June 17-20: Blistered Fingers Bluegrass Festival

Litchfield Fairgrounds. $10-$80.
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.

June 20: Bangor Beer Festival

1 p.m. June 20, Bangor waterfront. $25 in advance/$40 day of.
Beer! We’re talking 20 breweries from Maine represented, plus entertainment and food. Pay $50 for entry to the VIP session at noon and enjoy the brewers luncheon, tasting class, t-shirt, swag bag and special VIP-only beers.

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

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