What we’ve rounded up are some of summer’s highlights – things we think you shouldn’t miss if you’ve got a choice in the matter.
“There’s nothing to do around here” might fly elsewhere, but we’re talking about summertime in Maine. There’s a trap-ton of ways to spend your day, from clam festivals and paddle races to pig roasts, Moxie chugging contests, and a wine lesson aboard a sailboat. What we’ve rounded up are some of summer’s highlights – the odd events, the summer staples, the things we think you shouldn’t miss if you’ve got a choice in the matter. Feel free to post a comment below about your “can’t-miss” summer events, and feel free to experience all of it. Because this is Maine. Do stuff.
For the summer of 2015:
See beautiful windjammers sail into Boothbay Harbor, including a motley gang of pirates that will defend Boothbay Harbor against the British invasion. Other events include a Cod Fish Race where relay teams have to transport a fish through the streets of town in full foul weather gear, lobster eating contest, and food booths from local restaurants, as well as classic events such as the Boothbay Harbor One Design Boat Race; the hometown street parade; an antique boat parade; Artists’ Alley; waterfront concerts; Pirates of the Dark Rose and more.
More info: www.boothbayharbor.com
Biddeford Middle School Field, Biddeford
The 32nd La Kermesse festival, a celebration of French heritage, kicks off Thursday in Biddeford. There’s a parade Friday at 6 p.m., Fireworks Saturday night and tons of food and games all weekend. 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday, 9 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, Portland
Spanakopita! Baklava! Dolmades! Moussaka! The annual Greek Festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Portland boasts a spread of some the best Greek food you’ll have all year. There’s also Greek music and dancing, but it’s the food that you’ll daydream about for the rest of the summer.
More info: holytrinityportland.org
It’s all about food at Maine Fare in Belfast, with workshops, tours, classes forums, and, well, tons of food. This two-day event aims to bring together food producers, food consumers, food lovers, food makers, and the chefs and restaurateurs that often provide the link among us all.
More info: www.maine-fare.org
This isn’t about running a 5k just so you can have a beer at the end. This is about running (or walking) a 5k so you can have a whole beer festival at the end. Over 20 breweries will be waiting for you to cross the finish line (or ditch the race entirely and just show up for the brew festival. You can do that).$55 in advance, $65 day of (for both festival and race), $45 in advance, $55 day of for just festival.
Southern Maine Community College, South Portland
Color runs aren’t about speed (hallelujah). They’re about colored powder. Everywhere. Participants start the run dressed in white, but by the end will look like exploded rainbows, having been showered with colored powder along the course.
More info: thecolorrun.com/south-portland
Orland River Day is a town celebration held each year on the last Saturday in June (rain or shine) – complete with a parade, food, crafts, a “Downeast” raft race and other activities.
More info: www.orlandme.org
On the beach in Ocean Park
Most of us are competent playing in the sand, making sand mounds, and burying other people’s kids up to their necks. But the Sand Sculpture Contest takes the sand play to the next level. See how your sand skills compete. Competition runs from 9 a.m. to noon.
More info: oceanpark.org
Along the main drag, Round Pond
One of Maine’s best parades, with the political correctness rightfully thrown out the window. You never quite know what you’ll see in Round Pond, but it will be hilarious.
The center of town, Lisbon Falls
All things Moxie, all weekend long. Moxie floats, Moxie ice cream, Moxie baking contest, Moxie chugging contest. There’s a parade, fireworks, 5K, and live music. Stop in at the store for your obligatory Moxie paraphernalia.
More info: moxiefestival.com
East End, Portland
A two-day yoga event offering a diverse range of classes taught by local yoga instructors – with more than 30 yoga teachers and 20 yoga studios participating. Attendees can try a wide range of yoga styles and check out the vendor village, which will feature local businesses, artists, vendors and musicians.
More info: www.maineyogafest.com
Fort Fairfield hosts the annual Maine Potato Blossom Festival mid-July each year when the potato blossoms are in full bloom. This nine-day festival features farmer Olympics, road races, arts & crafts, fireworks, river races, mashed potato wrestling and more.
More info: fortfairfield.org
Public Landing, Rockland
Featuring national blues performers, the festival is held at the Public Landing in Rockland, overlooking the picturesque Rockland Harbor. Some of the top names in blues music have been featured at this East Coast festival. In addition to all day live entertainment, the festival has vendors selling a wide array of food, drinks and crafts.
More info: www.northatlanticbluesfestival.com
Aboard the Frances on Casco Bay, Portland
Wine is a welcome beverage in any setting, but tasting your way through Casco Bay aboard an 88-foot schooner…well, that’s a wine experience. Sommelier Erica Archer will guide you in a wine education and discussion on wines of California’s Central Coast as you sail.
More info: winewiseevents.com
Manson Park, Pittsfield
Week-long festival including the Kiwanis Karnival, street dance, Egglympics, live music, horseshoe contest, parade, artists, and a quiche/cheesecake/pie contest. Because eggs deserve to be celebrated!
More info: centralmaineeggfestival.org
Yes, there’s plenty of clams. And for folks who revel in seafood, this is your place. But there’s also bike race, canoe and kayak races, diaper derby, parade, and a clam-shucking competition that can’t be beat.
More info: clamfestival.com
This annual Celtic celebration includes tons of live music, workshops, food, beer and handmade items. But here’s what you really need to know: New World Cheese Roll Championship, Heavy Games and Kilted Canter 5K. Most festivals don’t let you chase a cheese wheel down a hill or run a 5K in a kilt. That’s what makes this festival so special.
Monument Square, Portland
There’s no running in The Dance Mile. There’s only dancing in The Dance Mile. The Dance Mile is a mobile dance party that follows a one-mile course and finishes at a raging dance party. With all your best friends. There’s a pre-party at 6:30 p.m., and the dancing begins at 7 p.m.
A host of rocks will have their potential tested during the International Stone Skipping Contest in Boothbay Harbor. The event brings stone skippers and spectators to the water’s edge to compete for a trophy and some rock-skipping glory of their own. And also, rocky road fudge!
More info: www.facebook.com/Ornes-Candy-Store
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine’s Lobster Ride & Roll follows winding, country lanes and the breathtaking rockbound coast past lighthouses, lupines and lobster boats. The ride features five distance options, from a family-friendly 15 miles to a century that was recognized by Bicycling Magazine as one of the Top Ten centuries in the country.
More info: mainelobsterride.com
Maine beers pouring all day at Thompson’s Point in Portland.
Farms throughout the State of Maine open their gates to offer the public an opportunity to learn about the business of agriculture. Many farms will have demonstrations, displays, farm-raised products for sale and animals and crops to experience. Activities may include barn and field tours, milking, hay rides, petting zoos, nature trails, beautiful scenery, samples for tasting and refreshments.
More info” www.getrealmaine.com
20,000 pounds of lobster. We’ll say it again: 20,000 pounds of lobster. Plus a sea goddess coronation, a big parade, top notch entertainment, an international crate race, fine art, talented crafts people and vendors, cooking contests, and more.
More info: www.mainelobsterfestival.com
Harold Lane, Hebron
It’s a redneck extravaganza out at Harold’s place, complete with pig roast, lawn mower races, red Solo cup saloon, bobbing for pig’s feet, a tire beer trot, and toilet seat horse shoes.
More info: www.facebook.com/Redneck-olympicspig-roast-and-music-festival
It was going to be a 1,000-foot waterslide on Franklin Street in Portland, but scheduling issues came up, so this event won’t come to town until 2016. So sad!
Lincoln Park, Portland
Over 100 vendors selling clothing, jewelry, prints, accessories, bags, plush, stationery, photography, housewares, fine art, vintage goods, and more. There will be live music all day and tasty food to eat.
The Nonantum Resort, Kennebunkport
At The Nonantum in Kennebunkport, it’s an outdoor festival for the kayaker, canoeist, and paddleboarder in us all. The festival’s main event is a river race at 1:30 pm, which includes divisions for kayaks, canoes, and paddleboards and even surfboards. Afterward, hit up the barbecue. (This event was postponed from June 21 due do weather.)
More info: www.paddlebattlekport.com
Celebrate recreation and life on the Kennebec River with a host of lively events, from bed races and river paddles to pub crawls and bingo night. There will be raft rides, a craft fair. lobster bake and fireworks.
Maine State Pier, Portland
It’s the second annual Reggae Fest on Maine State Pier in Portland. The line-up includes Steel Pulse, Barrington Levy, Inner Circle, Mighty Mystic and Maine’s own Gorilla Finger Dub. It’s a family-friendly event of music and food, and tickets are $30.
The event website says it best: “When Zoloft and balloon animals can’t seem to raise your spirits, the best way to brighten your life is to run Color Me Rad 5K…Color Me Rad is coming to a town near you with a tsunami of color that’ll make colored tears of joy run down your cheeks and will renew your will to live.”
Expect pipe bands, sheep dogs and a gathering of clans. There will also be plenty of Scottish food and merchandise, dancing, music and of course the athletics.
Simard-Payne Memorial Park, Lewiston
There’s nothing quite like the sight of hot air balloons inflating in the morning. The annual balloon festival is beautiful to look at, but attendees can also take a ride in one of these spectacular balloons.
More info: www.greatfallsballoonfestival.org
With banjos, fiddles, and those high, lonesome harmonies converging in Litchfield twice a year, this event features many national and local bands. Come Experience the “Welcome Home” feeling.
More info: www.blisteredfingers.com