Is there anything more Maine than celebrating food outside in the summer?
The concept of the food festival is perfect for Maine, where summer is short and glorious, and both tourists and locals alike take food seriously. This summer’s list of food festivals includes traditional church-run ethnic food celebrations in southern Maine, a block party of local eateries and breweries in Portland, a combination food festival and farmers market in the western foothills and a new food festival with music on the former air base in Brunswick.
Food festivals are so popular that a huge annual one being held this weekend on Thompson’s Point in Portland – Street Eats and Beats – is already sold out. But there are still plenty of others around Maine this summer. Here’s a sampling of some to whet your appetite.
DON’T KNOCK THE BLOCK
The third annual Washington Avenue Block Party will be held June 8 beginning at 11 a.m. Some 25 eateries, breweries and other food and drink purveyors will participate along inner Washington Avenue, roughly between Cumberland Avenue and the Eastern Promenade. Some of the businesses include Hardshore Distilling, Maine Mead Works, Terlingua BBQ, Oxbow Brewing, Silly’s Restaurant and The Cheese Shop of Portland. Events will be outside on sidewalks or in parking lots, and at least one seating area will be under a giant tent. On Facebook: Washington Ave Block Party
SHOP’N AND TRUCK’N
Also scheduled for June 8 is the Fifth Annual Battle of the Food Trucks at the Stonewall Kitchen Company Store off Route 1 in York. The event is 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the parking lot with trucks selling exclusive menu items featuring Stonewall Kitchen products. Some of the 11 or so food trucks expected include Mainely Burgers, Clyde’s Cupcakes, Mami Food Truck and Crepe Elizabeth. But touring Stonewall Kitchen’s store is a food event in itself. You can spend hours gazing at and sampling their sauces, mustards and various condiments and then sample a local food truck’s fare outside.
On Facebook: Stonewall Kitchen’s Fifth Annual Battle of the Food Trucks
SUMMERTIME AND THE TASTING IS EASY
A brand new food festival is taking flight this year at Brunswick Landing, on the site of the former Brunswick Naval Air Station. The new Taste of Summer Festival will be held June 22 from 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is $15 until June 17, with a drink ticket. Besides sampling food from local restaurants, food trucks and craft beverage makers, people can rock out to music by The Mallett Brothers Band and Sons of Alfond. Some of the food vendors include Cooks Lobster House, Portland Pie, Maine-ly Meatballs, PB&ME, Falafel Mafia, Gouda Boys and Get Sticky Maine. Beverage sellers include Maine Craft Distilling, Black Diamond Whiskey and local Brunswick breweries Flight Deck, Moderation and Black Pug.
On Facebook: Taste of Summer Festival Maine
GET YOUR GREEK ON
Some food trends come and go, but spanakopita and baklava are here to stay. The 38th Annual Greek Festival at Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Portland, scheduled for June 27-29, proves that. Every year, crowds line up on Pleasant Street to get their fill of moussaka, dolmades, souvlaki and other Greek specialties. Volunteers start prepping the kitchens and the food in April, with more than 100 people involved. Organizers say there are probably a dozen or so people who have helped create delicious dishes for the festival for three decades. There’s also nightly live Greek music and dancing, under a big tent near the church. On Facebook: Holy Trinity Orthodox Church, Portland, Maine
If you can’t get to the Portland Greek festival, don’t fear. You can always head to Saco on July 19-21 for the Saint Demetrios Greek Festival for your favorite Greek delicacies. That festival also has live music all weekend, as well as the St. Demetrios’ Youth Group Dancers. stdemetriosofmaine.com
THAR’S FOOD IN THEM HILLS
The Foothills Food Festival on Main Street in Norway, scheduled for Aug. 10 from noon to 6 p.m., is billed as a celebration of western Maine’s local food movement. So, besides food vendors and local restaurants, there will be a farmers market, including Pietree Orchard, Wandering Root, Pen-Y-Bryn Lavender Farm, Wrinkle in Thyme, Sterns Hill Farm, Sue’s Honey, Jumper’s Hill, Shady Grove Mushrooms and Beech Hill Farm & Bison Ranch. Some of the food vendors and restaurants will include: Street Eats, Gone Loco! Cafe, Worth-the-Wait BBQ, Isuken Coop, Fiddlestick Farm, Cafe Di Cocoa, Cafe Nomad, 290 Main Street, 76 Pleasant Street, X-Vault and Norway Brewing Co. There will also be a beer garden with nearly a dozen local purveyors on tap. foothillsfoodfestival.org