Can’t Miss Spring events: Fast forward into warmer times

Another Maine winter is at least technically in the books, and while the early part of spring might be less than stellar weather-wise, at least the days are longer, and the mercury is inching its way north. We’ve pulled together a bounty of events, both indoors and out, that will put a spring in your step, as Maine comes back to life. From maple-syrup making to baseball games and flying kites, these gateway-to-summer events will surely keep your spirits up. As you peruse these events, keep the immortal words of Maine poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in mind: “The spring came suddenly, bursting upon the world as a child bursts into a room, with a laugh and a shout and hands full of flowers.”

Shawnee Peak Spring Fling {Passed}, Shawnee Peak, 119 Mountain Road, Bridgton. shawneepeak.com Shawnee Peak welcomes in spring in very slushy fashion. Hit the 35th annual Spring Fling with live entertainment, the Blizzard Pub's deck and, best of all, the Slush Cup competition. Skiers and snowboarders, if they're brave enough, can zip down a hill and into a slushy, man-made, 100-foot-long pond. The goal is to skim across it for as long as possible without going under, so you may see some folks in snowsuits and wet suits. The Slush Cup is open to all ages, and kids under 18 need a parent or guardian present. An outdoor beer garden and barbecue lunch will be available for all competitors and viewers. Go make a splash!Staff Photo by Shawn Patrick Ouellette more
Caribbean Night {Passed}, Opera House at Boothbay Harbor, 86 Townsend Ave. $10 in advance, $15 at the door. boothbayoperahouse.com Nothing says, "So long, winter" quite like the sound of the steel drum. The Opera House at Boothbay Harbor knows this all too well and invites you to its annual Caribbean Night with music from Pan Fried Steel and its 20 steel drums. Put on your Hawaiian shirts and flip-flops and get ready to hit the tiki hut, enter a limbo contest and leave all your winter woes behind.Photo courtesy of The Opera House at Boothbay Harbor more
Maine Maple Sunday {Passed}, statewide. mainemapleproducers.com Let it flow, let it flow, let it flow! Maine Maple Sunday is truly the sweetest day of the year as sugar houses all over the state open their doors to the public. Many of the spots offer free syrup samples and demonstrations on how they make their delicious product. You'll also find games, activities, treats, tours, music and more fun that you can shake a maple tree branch at in all corners of the state. See our list of participating sugar houses near by or head to mainemapleproducers.com, if you're looking to go farther afield, and make a plan to visit one or several of the nearly 100 maple syrup-producing spots on this glorious day. Move over, Manic Monday, Maple Sunday is where it's at! Staff photo by Joel Page more
Maine Flower Show {Passed}, Brick South at Thompson's Point, 8 Thompson's Point Road, Portland, $8 to $50. maineflowershow.com Don't let the thermometer fool you, spring is officially here, at least according to the calendar. The Maine Landscape & Nursery Association invites you to put a spring in your step by attending the annual Maine Flower Show with this year's theme of "A Walk in Maine." You'll exhale happy, hopeful sighs as you take in the site of 13 interactive garden displays and a whopping 115 plant exhibits. The show will also feature hardscapes, arbors and every type of garden supply you can shake a green thumb at. Staff photo by Brianna Soukup more
Portland Sea Dogs Home Opener {Passed}Hadlock Field, Portland, $13, $14 portlandseadogs.com "Love is the most important thing in the world, but baseball is pretty good, too," said Hall of Famer Yogi Berra about his beloved sport. What better way to live these words but to catch the Opening Day game at Hadlock Field. The Portland Sea Dogs will be facing the Reading Fightin Phils, and although it will be chilly out, nothing tastes better than a Sea Dog Biscuit when you're plunked down behind home plate, along a baseline or out in the outfield. The only two words that truly christen the arrival of spring are: Play ball!Staff photo by Derek Davismore
Spring Fest Weekend {Passed}Sunday River, 97 Summit Road, Newry. sundayriver.com Sunday River's spring festival is a celebration of the season with massive bashes, all sorts of music, food, painkiller cocktails and, of course, fantastic end-of-the-season skiing and riding. This year features the sixth annual Slip n' Flip tournament, an inner-tube relay race that includes trying to flip a cup into an upright position. As for music, you'll hear from Miss Fairchild, West End Blend and Armies with more acts being announced in theia Grig/Shutterstock.commore
Moonlit Forest: An Enchanted Dance Party {Passed}Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo St., Portland, $20 in advance, $25 at the door, includes one drink ticket. mayostreetarts.org Mayo Street Arts, Portland Food Co-Op and Rising Tide Brewing Co. present a charity ball cut from a very unique cloth. Moonlit Forest: An Enchanted Dance Party invites you to celebrate the coming of spring by dressing as a wild beast, gnarly oak, stylish sorcerer or anything else that pays creative homage to the woods. All proceeds benefit Wayside Food Programs and Mayo Street Arts. Anna Zheludkova/Shutterstock.commore
31st Annual Sugarloaf Reggae Festival {Passed}, Sugarloaf Mountain, 5092 Carrabassett Valley Road, Carrabassett Valley. sugarloaf.com Does four days of reggae music and nonstop parties sound good to you? Well, then it's time for you to hit the Loaf! Sugarloaf's Reggae Festival includes two nights of music in the King Pine Room, three nights in The Widowmaker and two days of outside entertainment on "The Beach," as well as reggae DJs spinning at Bullwinkle's. Acts include Might Mystic and the Hard Roots Movement, Roots of Creation, Oogee Wawa, Gorilla Finger Dub, Zeme Libre, Soul Rebel Project and several others. The evening shows are for the 21-plus crowd, but all of the outdoor ones are open to all ages. Come for a day or the whole shebang. Taras Shchetinin/Shutterstock.commore
Record Store Day {Passed}, Bull Moose locations statewide, Niche, Inc. in Gardiner, Newbury Comics in South Portland, The Record Connection in Waterville, The Grasshopper Shop in Ellsworth, Manny's in Camden and Everyday Music in Farmington. recordstoreday.com The only streaming you should be doing on Record Store Day is into your favorite local record shop to shop for vinyl. Record Store Day has been celebrating independent record stores and vinyl records since 2007, and every year there are several special, limited-edition Record Store Day releases from many artists to add to your collection. Some stores also have in-store performances so check their websites and Facebook pages for updates. Viva la vinyl! Dinga/Shutterstock.commore
Goodwill's Little Black Dress Event {Passed}Ocean Gateway, 14 Ocean Gateway Pier, Portland, $50 to $100. eventbrite.com It's one part fashion show, one part auction and all parts really good time. This year, Goodwill of Northern New England's Little Black Dress event will benefit its Veteran's Access Fund, which provides financial relief for veterans in the Job Connection program. Shannon Moss from News Center Maine and Maine Public's High School Quiz Show will be hosting the gala, during which you'll see community members strut their stuff on the runway wearing Goodwill finds, including little black dresses. There also will be live and silent auctions with event tickets, one-of-a-kind experiences, jewelry, restaurant meals and much more up for grabs.Danielle Conway, a model from the 2018 Little Black Dress Event. She’s Dean and Professor of Law at the University of Maine School of Law. Photo by Samuel Cousins Photographymore
All Roads Music Festival May 17 and 18, multiple locations, downtown Belfast, $20 to $55. allroadsmusicfest.org It's a two-day indie-music blowout in Belfast, and if you're a lover of local music, it's not to be missed. The Friday night lineup features Spose, Paranoid Social Club, Kenya Hall and God. Damn. Chan. Then on Saturday, music kicks off at noon, and the dizzying lineup includes former-Bostonians-turned-Mainers The Ballroom Thieves, Joel Thetford Band, The Mallett Brothers Band, Max Garcia Conover, Murcielago, Katie Matzell, Sibylline, Jacob Augustine, Johnny Cremains, Sugarbush, JanaeSound, Rustic Overtones, Five Of The Eyes, Armies, John Hughes Radio, Earl Mac and several others. This is a music lover's dream in a beautiful oceanside town.Ballroom Thieves photo by Stephanie Bassosmore
Bug Light Kite Festival 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. May 18, Bug Light Park, South Portland. On Facebook All eyes will be on the sky during the annual Bug Light Kite Festival. Presented by the South Portland Historical Society, the festival celebrates its 10th anniversary. You'll hear tunes from Maine Marimba Ensemble, and of course, there will be all sorts of kites flying. NorEasters Kite Club and Kites Over New England will both be on hand to help with kite assembly and repair. They'll also be holding a candy drop, which is as awesome as it sounds: A special kite filled with candy is set aloft, then a door is opened with a string, and sweets rain down. Kites will be available for purchase for $5 to $30. Sales from that and the barbecue will benefit the South Portland Historical Society and its museum at Bug Light park.Staff photo by Gordon Chibroski more
Maine Days at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 25-27, Maine Botanical Gardens, 132 Botanical Gardens Drive, Boothbay. mainegardens.org Fill up your senses with the beauty of flowers for as far as the eye can see. Maine Coastal Botanical Gardens is free for Maine residents throughout Memorial Day weekend, so take advantage and walk the many acres of stunning grounds. There's no place in Maine quite like this spot, and it's a magical destination for the entire family.Staff photo by Doug Jonesmore
Pineland Farms Trail Festival May 25 and 26, Pineland Farms, New Gloucester, $25 to $90. pinelandtrails.com If you like trail running, the Pineland Farms Trail Festival is calling your name. You can choose from routes that range from a 5K all the way up to 50 miles; there's also a 1-kilometer kid's race. Both days include postrace barbecues with beer, live music and family-friendly fun. If running's not your thing, you can still come and cheer your favorite runner and food will be available for purchase. Hit the trails! Harbucks/Shutterstock.commore
Old Port Festival 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 9, Old Port, Portland. portlandmaine.com All good things must come to an end and such is the case with Portland's storied Old Port Festival. Here's your chance to get your last hurrahs. As always, there will be a parade, live music, Maine-made arts and crafts, kids' activities, rides, games and just about every kind of carnival street food you can think of. Keep your fingers crossed for sunny skies as this historic event comes to an end. The first Old Port Festival was 46 years ago. How many have you been to through the years? Staff photo by Tim Greenwaymore
Blistered Fingers Bluegrass Festival June 20 to 23, Litchfield Fairgrounds, 30 Plains Road, Litchfield, $80 in advance for weekend pass, $85 after June 1, $90 at the gate, $15 to $25 for individual days and evenings. blisteredfingers.com The Blistered Fingers Bluegrass Festival has been bringing bluegrass fans together since 1991. The multiday festival features a wide range of local, regional, national and international acts, and this year's lineup includes The Gibson Brothers, Zink & Company, The Baker Family, Back Woods Road, Blistered Fingers and Dan Paisley, among many others. Accommodations for buses, RVs, campers and tents are available for the total bluegrass immersion experience. If your June dance card is full, fear not, there's a second summer festival starting on the Aug. 22. Craig S Wales/Shutterstock.commore
Aimsel Ponti: Aimsel Ponti is a Content Producer at MaineToday.com and a music writer for MaineToday.com and the Portland Press Herald. She has been obsessed with - and inspired by - music since she listened to Monkees records borrowed from the town library when she was six years old. She bought her first Rolling Stones record at a flea market when she was in 7th grade and discovered David Bowie a year later. She's a HUGE fan of the local music scene and covers it along with national musical happenings in her "Face the Music" column and with artist interviews that appear in print in the Portland Press Herald and online at Mainetoday.com. You'll also find her out and about absorbing live music like a sponge and roaming around local record shops and flea markets. Aimsel is also the host of Music from 207 on 98.9 WCLZ and appears monthly on the News Center Maine TV show “207” to talk about...music of course.
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