Get a new-to-you bicycle during the Great Maine Bike Swap and attend a meatball competition and eat all the samples you can (because you’re going to need energy to pedal that bike). Celebrate Shakespeare’s birthday (he’s a sprightly 451 years old!), help clean up the neighborhood and take a narrow gauge train ride.
For the weekend of April 23-26, 2015:
10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, multiple locations, downtown Waterville. Free. facebook.com/recycledshakespeare
Happy birthday to The Bard! William Shakespeare is turning 451 years old, and for someone that old (and not alive) his life and work still influence modern theater and culture. To celebrate, there will be a host of activities in Waterville, from costumed readers parading down Silver Street to sonnets and songs at the REM Forum. Sign up to participate or just enjoy Shakespeare’s works.
10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, USM Sullivan Gym, 66 Falmouth St., Portland. $3 admission. www.bikemaine.org
The Great Maine Bike Swap is like a matchmaker for people and bicycles. You’ll get the chance to meet the right bike for you (mountain bike, road bike, tandem, hybrid). And if you have a bike that isn’t “the one,” that’s fine. Drop it off Saturday (along with $3 listing fee) and you’ll both be free to meet other people and bicycles.
9 a.m. to noon, Saturday, multiple sites in Portland and South Portland. Free. www.easternpromenade.org
Dog owners (and the people who love them) will spend the morning picking up what their four-legged sidekicks left behind (and plenty of litter left behind by people). Meet at Hill House on Congress Street for bags and gloves (and coffee) and set out to sites like the Eastern Prom, Evergreen Cemetery and Mill Creek Park. Find one the of Golden Turds along the way for a prize!
Read more: It’s cleanup time: Help keep Maine lookin’ gorgeous with April Stools Day & upcoming community cleanups
3 to 6 p.m. Saturday, Gilbert’s Chowder House, 61 Tandberg Trail, Windham. $10. www.gilbertschowderhouse.com
Tired of other people telling you which meatballs are the best meatball? Decide for yourself during the second annual Meatball Challenge. Categories include traditional and creative, so you’ll have the pleasure of sampling some classic meatballs and, hopefully, something entirely new and amazing. Proceeds benefit Riding To The Top Therapeutic Riding Center.
7:30 p.m. Friday, 4 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday, Portland Stage Company, 25A Forest Ave., Portland. $37-47. portlandstage.org
“Papermaker” is based on one of Monica Wood’s novels, “Ernie’s Ark,” and takes place in fictional Abbott Falls, Maine. It tells the story of two families who collide during a strike at the local paper mill and the “drama about family, loyalty, and the quiet tragedies of mill-town life.”
Read more: Monica Wood’s ‘Papermaker’ premieres at Portland Stage
8 p.m. Tuesday, The State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland. $25 in advance, $30 day of show, reserved seating. statetheatreportland.com
The Wailin’ Jennys is the harmony rich trio of Nicky Mehta, Ruth Moody and Heather Masse. The three singer-songwriters teamed up 11 years ago and have been churning out innovative and infectious pop folk ever since. Along with vocals youÆll hear acoustic guitar, banjo, ukuleke and fiddle among other sounds. The Jennys’ most recent record is “Bright Morning Stars.”
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Portland Public Library, 5 Monument Square, free. portlandlibrary.com
If you’re interested in learning about creative opportunities in Portland, this is the event for you. Makers@PPL is a daylong experience with thematic tracks on creative arts, science & technology, entrepreneurship, food & drink and local history. There will also be con-current workshops for kids and teens so bring the whole family. Topics include 3D printing, Lego Mindstorms, calligraphy, typewriter maintenance, soldering and much more.
African Adventure Tales
10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. and 3:45 p.m. Monday. Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo St., Portland, $8, $5 kids. mayostreetarts.org
“Koi and the Kola Nuts” is a traditional African tale about a young son of a chief who sets our on a fortune-seeking journey carrying only a bag of nuts. The show comes to life through innovative puppetry from the Crabgrass Puppet Theatre out of San Francisco.
Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Train Rides
10 a.m. to 3 p.m.. Thursday through Sunday. Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad, 58 Fore St., Portland, $10, $9 seniors, $6 children, free for 2 and under. mainenarrowgauge.org
Nothing says spring like a ride along the Portland waterfront on the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad. The two-foot gauge trains are a whole lot of fun for the entire family and the view can’t be beat. All aboard!
‘Hard To Be A God’
6:30 p.m. Sunday, SPACE Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland, $8, $6 for members and students. space538.org
Legendary Russian filmmaker Aleksei German died in 2013 but left behind an extraordinary final film – an adaptation of the sci-fi novel by the Strugatsky brothers. “Hard To Be A God” is set on planet Arkanar and focuses on the character of Don Rumata, an earth-sent scientist who is under orders not to interfere with the political or historical development of the strange planet where he is perceived as a divine presence.
Clash of the Titans: Duran Duran vs. INXS
10 p.m. Wednesday, Empire, 575 Congress St., Portland, $6, 21-plus. portlandempire.com
Here’s a way to travel back to the 80s without a time machine. The Clash of the Titans local music series invites you to a night that pits Duran Duran against INXS. From “Rio” and “Hungry Like The Wold” to “Never Tear Us Apart” and “Need You Tonight” this night is guaranteed to knock your 80s socks off.