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    Heart, Soul & Substance

    Opening night of the first Heart, Soul & Substance two-day music festival on House Island was beautiful, blustery and cool--in every sense of the word "cool." How much more Maine can an event get than water taxis, a vibrant music community, all things lobster, and local beer, wine and spirits? There were a half-dozen musical acts each night, Sept. 1-2. Tickets included transportation back and forth (and, of course, incredible sunset views).

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    Life Happens Outside Festival

    Teens to Trails (T3) hosted its first Life Happens Outside Festival at Thompson's Point on Aug. 25-26, celebrating the Maine outdoors and inspiring healthy, active lifestyles. T3's mission is to grow and support high school outing clubs throughout the state, getting teens to experience the joy of adventure here in Maine. But the festival was an all-ages event with everything from a toddler-led hike to a 3K trail race.

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    Scottish Festival and Highland Games

    With heavy athletics, music and dancing, food and shopping, historical reenactors, animals and clan reunion booths, there's a little of everything at the annual Scottish Festival and Highland Games at Topsham Fairgrounds. Whether the day's events are a chance to reconnect with your family and their cultural heritage or an opportunity to try something new--caber tossing? or haggis?--the St. Andrew's Society of Maine welcomes you. The festival is always the third Saturday of August (a warm time of year to be wearing woolens, but it's all part of the tradition).

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    Camp Sunshine Watermelon Festival

    Camp Sunshine's first annual Watermelon Festival at L.L. Bean's Discovery Park on Aug. 12 proved that anything a pumpkin can do a watermelon can do better... or tastier. With a watermelon eating contest, a carving demonstration, seed spitting contest, a greased watermelon challenge and other lawn games, live music and food, the Watermelon Festival was a sweet way to raise money and awareness for Camp Sunshine's retreats for children with life-threatening illnesses and their families.

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    Paddle Battle at Nonantum Resort

    It was a fine day for the fifth annual Paddle Battle, The Nonantum Resort's Kennebunk River paddle race and lawn party Sunday, Aug. 5. More than 100 recreational and competitive racers brought kayaks, canoes, stand-up paddleboards, and surfboards and paddled their way past cheering fans, vying for Paddle Battle trophies and local bragging rights. Music by the Kennebunk River Band, lawn games and picnic food rounded out a fun afternoon by--and on--the water, all to raise money for Kennebunkport Emergency Medical Services.

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    Summer Session: Maine Brewers’ Guild festival

    Saturday was a fine day to be a beer lover as the Maine Brewers' Guild's Summer Session 2017 took over Thompson's Point. The sold-out festival included a whole lot of local craft beer samples as well as "beer school" talks, food trucks, live music, vendors and games. The Maine Beer Box, a shipping container with fixed taps, had returned from Iceland and served both local and Icelandic brews.

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    Yarmouth Clam Festival

    In its 52nd year, the Yarmouth Clam Festival boasted a whole lot more traditions than clams. Despite the rides, games, contests and races, art and craft sales, and dozens of musical acts, food is at the heart of the festival. And what's there to feel guilty about when you're supporting more than 35 community groups, churches and school groups serving up favorites like clams every which way, shore dinners, crab cakes, lobster rolls, haddock fingers, fried scallops, corndogs, kielbasa, fried pickles, and fried dough? Don't forget all the homemade pies, strawberry shortcake, Whoopie pies, lime rickeys, blueberry soda and root beer floats. (Full yet?)

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    Greek Heritage Festival

    Saint Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Saco saw between 6,000 and 7,000 visitors at its annual festival the weekend of July 7-9. It's an everybody's welcome sort of event, with a bounce house, games and face painting for the little ones. And, of course, the focus is on (mostly) traditional Greek food prepared and served by volunteers. The festival includes Greek music and dancing and tours of the church building, the sanctuary of which is covered in icons written in Greece and shipped to Maine.