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.
Summertime in Maine. It’s the stuff that dreams and memories are made of. While the influx of tourists might ruffle some feathers let’s remember that we’re all in this together because we love Maine in all of its sandy, salty, woodsy and majestic splendor. With a keen eye on packing in as much fun, relaxation and lobstersa s possible before the snow starts flying again without mercy, we offer up 31 events that have something for everyone; boaters, beer drinkers, foodies, music fans, outdoor enthusiasts, runners, bicylists, sand sculptors, stone skippers, clam eaters, dancers, Moxie aficionados and or course fans of the Round Pond Parade. Pour yourself a lemonade -or Moxie- and peruse this cross-section of some of the best the summer of 2016 has to offer. Then put on some sunscreen and get out there.
Catholic Charities invites you to sample some of the summer’s best beer and wines while you nosh on hors d’oeuvres, enjoy live music while an early summer breeze swirls, partake of a Champagne toast and bid on silent auction items including luxury gift baskets.
More info: www.ccmaine.org/barrelsandbrews
First you’ll enjoy some ice-cold offering from Foundation Brewing as a brewery staffer tells you all about what you’re imbibing and then you’ll hop on a train and watch the world go by along the Portland waterfront. $20 advance, advance tickets required, 21-plus.
More info: www.mainenarrowgauge.org/rails-and-ales
You’ll have two chances this summer to see some of the biggest and most popular family music events in New England. Bluegrass fans from around the globe converge in Litchfield to hear banjos, fiddles and of course a whole mess of harmonies.
More info: www.blisteredfingers.com
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: boothbayharbor.com
St. Louis Field, Biddeford
The 34th annual La Kermesse festival, a celebration of French heritage, kicks off Thursday in Biddeford with a block party. Other events include a petting zoo, parade, fireworks, carnival rides, games, good and a plenty of live music at the main stage.
Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, 133 Pleasant St., Portland
Be sure to show up hungry because you are going to want to try one of just about everything at the Greek Festival. Tantalize your taste buds with offerings like spanakopita, lamb souvlaki,pastichio and moussake and then satisfy your sweet tooth with loukomades right out of the fryer or some baklava or kourabiedes. You’ll also hear live music from a local Greek band and will see dancers donning authentic Greek costumes. Opa!
More info: holytrinityportland.org
Noon. Payson Park,Portland.
Don a costume if you’re so inclined , run or walk a 5K and then spend the next three hours reveling at a craft brew festival. Every finisher gets a cool medal which doubles as a bottle opener and a souvenir pint glass. You’ll sample suds from more than 20 breweries and there will live music and food trucks.
Southern Maine Community College, South Portland
The Color Run Tropicolor World Tour is making a stop in South Portland for a 5K race that features a Tropicolor Zone on the course and a Rainbow Beach at the Finish Festival. Be sure to dress in white for this un-timed race during which you’ll get doused in different colors at each kilometer. When the race ends the party begins with music and dancing.
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
3 to 6 p.m. On the beach in Ocean Park, Old Orchard Beach.
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. Judging starts at 6:15 and the winner is announced at 7 p.m.
More info: oceanpark.org
Noon. July 4. Route 32, Round Pond. 563-5270
For a small town they sure know how to throw a parade. Thousands flock to this iconic parade that includes the Tacky Tourists and any number of off-color and politically incorrect floats and marchers. Watch kids scramble for tossed candy as you bake in the sun wondering how things could possibly get any sillier.
It was born in 1982 and continues to be one of Maine’s most beloved summer events. The Moxie Festival celebrates the uniquely flavored official soft drink of Maine with amusement rides, dance and musical performances, a dance party, 5K road race, fireworks, Moxie festival parade, food vendors, petting zoo, pony rides, Moxie-related exhibits and the famous Moxie Chug-n-Challenge. Bottoms up!
More info: moxiefestival.com
East End Community School, 195 North St., and East End Beach, Portland
Spend three glorious days getting your ohm on at the Maine YogaFest. The festival’s mission is to create a wellness event for the Maine and New England community to come together, celebrate the healing powers of yoga and encourage a healthy, peaceful and compassionate way of living. The festival features a series of lectures, guided mediations and musical performances along with a whole lot of yoga.
More info: www.maineyogafest.com
The potato blossoms will be in full bloom as will a whole host of spud-themed events at the annual Maine Potato Blossom Festival. Over the course of nine days families and friends can partake of road races, pageants, live music, arts & crafts, fireworks, a river run, mashed potato wrestling, potato picking and more. The centerpiece event is the giant parade on July 16. This festival dates all the way back to 1937 so they know what they’re doing when it comes to celebrating their agricultural roots in Fort Fairfield.
More info: fortfairfield.org
The Nonantum Resort, Kennebunkport
Paddle Battle is the annual Kennebunk River race for kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, surfbaords and any other non-motorized vessel you can come up with. Serious competitors and fun-loving novices are welcome to participate and the race is followed by a BBQ with live music and family-friendly activities on the resort’s back lawn.
More info: www.paddlebattlekport.com
Public Landing, Rockland
These are the kind of blues you don’t mind having…the musical ones. The North Atlantic Blues Festival brings together top-notch national blues performers for two days of jamming, strumming, singing and celebrating. Some of this year’s performers are Blues Caravan, Alexis P. Suter, Toronzo Cannon, Mike Zito and The Wheel, Quinn Sullivan and Ronnie Earl and The Broadcasters among many others.
More info: www.northatlanticbluesfestival.com
Manson Park, Pittsfield
If you end up with egg in your face, you’ll likely be cheered not jeered. The Central Maine Egg Festival celebrates its 44th anniversary with an “egg-stra-terrestrial” theme.” Events and activities include an art show, live music, street dance, Egglympics, window painting, parade, marketplace tents, Kiwanis Karnival, quiche & cheesecake contest, fireworks, chicken & steak BBQ, dog costume contest and more to help you take life by the yolk.
More info: centralmaineeggfestival.org
Don’t clam up! It’s Yarmouth Clam Festival time which means a parade, fireworks, live music, arts & crafts show, pink elephant sale, Yarmouth History Center “Postcards from Yarmouth” presentation, flapjack breakfast, clam shucking contest, magic show, firefighters muster, road races, horse & wagon rides, carnival rides and yes, clams for days!
More info: clamfestival.com
Heritage Park, Belfast
For three days in Belfast, it’s all about Celtic immersion. The Maine Celtic Celebration has an eclectic mix of activities including the Manx Uphill Three-Legged Race, Kilted Canter 5K, Highland Heavy Games and Cheese Roll. Musical acts include Bohola, Open the Door for Three, The Press Gang, The Colleen Raney Band, The Stowes, Boghat and several others.
Monument Square, Portland
You can dance if you want to! All the way down Congress Street during the Portland Dance Mile. The Dance Mile is an interactive dance festival led by a parade float with an MC, DJ and YOU! This is a rare chance to dance yourself silly as you break into a sweat and break out your best moves with like-minded free spirits.
Registration and bib bdedazzling starts at 4 p.m., dance acts and ZUMBA warm-ups are are 6 and the Dance Mile starts at 6:30 p.m. followed by and after party with dance acts and contests.
So you think you can skip? Stones that is. Choose your stones wisely and then get ready to work some sidearm magic in hope’s of winning a trophy and serious mid-coast bragging rights. Winners and losers can both repair to the Orne’s Candy Store on 11 Commercial St.for fabulous fudge, terrific taffy and a plethora of sugary sustenance.
More info: www.ornescandystore.com
The Bicycle Coalition of Maine invites you to cruise along winding country lanes as you take in the breathtaking, rocky coast and see lighthouses, lupines and lobster boats from the comfort of two pedal-powered wheels. You’ll have your pick of five distance options. When the ride is over you’ll get a pair of Lobster Ride bike socks and a lobster roll and can jump in Hosmer Pond to cool down.
More info: mainelobsterride.com
More than 35 breweries will be pouring their beers all day at Thompson’s Point in Portland. The festival also includes beer school mini-classes and the Homegrown Beer Competition featuring brews made from Maine-grown ingredients. Food trucks will be lined-up so you have something to wash down with all that beer.
Open Farm Day is an annual family event that allows the general public to learn about the business of agriculture.Farms throughout the State of Maine open their gates and 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
Main events include a road race, fun run and walk, The Great Lobster Crate Race, arts and crafts, food, marine tent,The Big Parade, seafood cooking contest, entertainment and the Maine Sea Goddess Pageant & Coronation, Oh and did we mention there would be lobster. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 20,000 pounds of it. Get crackin’ !
More info: www.mainelobsterfestival.com
Harold Lane, Hebron
It’s a redneck extravaganza like none other out at Harold’s place. The festivities include a pig roast, lawn mower races, red Solo cup saloon, bobbing for pig’s feet, a tire beer trot, and toilet seat horse shoes. You might not win a gold medal, but anyone who attends this thing is a winner in our book.
Lincoln Park, Portland
This juried indie craft fair celebrates its ninth year in Lincoln Park. Peruse and purchase indie crafts and vintage wares including clothing, jewelry, prints, accessories, bags, toys, photography, housewares, fine art and more from over 100 vendors. Live music will be cranking all day and food trucks will be waiting for you.
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.
Simard-Payne Memorial Park, Lewiston, $25 to $55.
With 8 color stations you’re going to be a real-life rainbow by the time you cross the finish line. Volunteers will show no mercy as they douse you with powders and gels of pink, yellow, green, blue and violent. They’ll also hit you with something called “New Slime.”
Two words: haggis and whiskey. But that’s not all, the 2016 Maine Highland Games and Scottish Festival also features live Scottish music from acts including Rathkeltair and the Robert Burns Luncheon. The sound of pipe bands will fill your heart and Scottish country dance performances, the Parade of Tartans, harp concerts and more will make this a memorable day even if you don’t have a drop of Scottish blood in your veins.
Simard-Payne Memorial Park, Lewiston
Got your head in the clouds? This is not a problem at the Great Falls Balloon Festival. The festival was founded in 1992 and continues to be a much-loved celebration with hot air balloons, food and entertainment.
More info: www.greatfallsballoonfestival.org