The merriest pub crawl of them all, Santacon brought hundreds of Santas, Mrs. Clauses, elves, reindeer, snowmen, leg lamps, Christmas trees and even one fireplace and mantle to the Old Port on Saturday night. From 4 p.m. until last call, Santas were on the move, descending on Pat's Pizza, Lincoln's, Monument Square for group photos, Port City Dance Hall, Oasis, Bonfire, Dusk, Drink Exchange, Gritty's, Bull Feeney's and Thirsty Pig, Grace, Brian Boru and 51 Wharf. Organizers urged Santas to be good for goodness' sake and to put some cash in the collection buckets for Family Crisis Services, a domestic violence support and prevention agency in Portland.
Realtors found yet another way to raise money for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Portland with a first-time Hops for Habitat fundraiser at Oxbow Blending & Bottling on Washington Avenue in Portland. It was a low-key party in the tasting room with brews, snacks, auction items and a drawing for a stand-up paddleboard. The event was hosted by Portside Real Estate Group and attended 130 people, primarily folks in the home and lending industries, raising $5,000 for Habitat for Humanity homes.
Runners have the right idea, fitting in a festive community workout before the turkey feast. Portland's 35th annual Thanksgiving Day 4-Miler raised money for the St. Patrick’s Secondary School in Kenya, the USM Women's Track team, the Rafiki Foundation, Portland Trails, and Partners for World Health.
The Portland Symphony Orchestra (PSO) knows how to market classical concerts to the young adult crowd: Seat them together and have their tickets include a happy hour after the show. The program, Symphony and Spirits, is for adults ages 21-39. The Nov. 12 symphony included Sibelius's Fifth, featuring guest violinist Benjamin Beilman, who at 26 would fit right in with the Symphony and Spirits crowd. The next meetup is Friday, Dec. 9 for the PSO's "Magic of Christmas," featuring Cirque de la Symphonie, after an ugly sweater contest and drinks at Bull Feeny's. #symphonyandspirits
The Greater Portland young professionals group PROPEL hosted a large--and free!--networking event at The Portland Club on Nov. 17. Food by The Black Tie Co., magic by Phil Smith, billiards, music, cocktails and plenty of networking rounded out an evening of simply making connections.
What better way to celebrate Veterans Day weekend than in USO style? The University of Southern Maine Gorham campus hosted its second annual Big Band Bash, open to the public and free to veterans and university students. If just walking into a formal dance that smells like freshly polished gymnasium flooring didn't take you back, The Portland Symphony Orchestra, the USM Jazz Ensemble, vocalists from the USM School of Music, and dancing by USM Ballroom Dance students would. For the "I don't know how to ballroom dance" types, the evening started with an hour of instruction.
For the fourth year, the USM Woodbury Campus Center was opened to the public for a free multicultural food and music festival. Anyone not sure how to find the campus center could just follow the African rhythms of the highly entertaining Batimbo Beats percussion and dance group. Members of USM's Tourism and Hospitality Event Planning class served up samples of dishes from Spain, Somalia, India and Egypt--and of course some clam chowder and whoopie pies from Maine. A diverse crowd of university and high school students, faculty and staff, and interested community members popped in for lunch.
Once a year the Hellenic Society of Paideia of Maine--Paideia for short--hosts a big old-fashioned Greek dinner dance the likes of which you might find at a wedding. It's a chance for Greek Americans with ties to orthodox churches in Portland, Biddeford/Saco, and Lewiston to gather together, reconnect and work up a sweat with traditional Greek dancing. It's an all-ages family-like party--for the whole community, everyone welcome.