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We'll help you plan your best summer yet with our annual roundup of can't miss events! Plus we've got a Face the Music interview with vocal powerhouse Josh Groban who is performing in Portland on 6/24. And as always, we'll help you have a terrific weekend with our hand-picked selection of events. Have fun out there!
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.
Downton Abbey Farewell, masquerade ball, Patriot Troy Brown, comedy, winterfest: 11 Things to do in Maine this weekend
Written by: Aimsel Ponti
Downton Abbey’s Final Episode
2 p.m. Sunday, State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland, free but tickets required.
statetheatreportland.com Because fans of Downton Abbey need some together time to lament the end of the popular TV show, and you can watch it seven hours before it airs on
television, Maine Public Broadcasting Network is hosting a special early screening of the final episode. The event is free but tickets are required (and
likely to sell out). Attendees also have a chance to win the official silver hand mirror and hairbrush Lady Edith used on the show. Raffle tickets cost
$10. Courtesy photo
'Alice in Wonderland'
7 p.m. Friday. Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo St., Portland, $12 in advance, $15 at the door, $8 in advance for under 12, $10 at the door. mayostreetarts.org Head down the rabbit hole with Shoestring Theater's funky, twisted, irreverent and weird adaption of "Alice in Wonderland." Performed in two
episodes, the original adaption will feature a variety of puppets including large marionettes and hand puppets, as well as actors and
musicians. Courtesy photo
6:30 p.m. Friday. Longfellow Books, 1 Monument Way, Portland, free. longfellowbooks.com Troy Brown, a former star receiver of the New England Patriots is coming to Portland. He'll be reading from - and signing copies of - his book
"Patriot Pride: My Life in the New England Dynasty." Brown was a Pat for 15 seasons and the book tells his life story from South Carolina to West Virginia
and as a key player who helped the Patriots win three Super Bowls. Courtesy photo
Maine State Ballet Masquerade Ball & Auction
6 p.m. Saturday. Maine State Ballet Theater, 348 U.S. Route 1, Falmouth, $25, $175 for table of 8. mainestateballet.org Here's a chance to get gussied up for a good cause. Maine State Ballet's Masquerade Ball & Auction promises to be an enchanted evening with hors
d'oeuvres, dancing, cash bar and a silent auction with goods and services for every budget. All proceeds benefit MSB's scholarship programs and
performances. Masks are certainly encouraged but not required. Shutterstock image
Irish Soda Bread Contest
Noon. Saturday. Maine Irish Heritage Center, 34 Gray St., Portland, free. maineirish.com Start your St. Patrick's Day celebrating early by either participating in or just loafing around at the annual competition at the Maine Irish
Heritage Center. Loaves are judged in three categories: Irish bread (this is the Americanized version that sometimes has raisins or caraway seeds), brown
bread or gluten free. Tea and coffee will be served. Last year's event featured 30 competitors, six judges and about 100 attendees. The event is free so
no need to bring any bread, unless it's the kind you've baked. Courtesy photo
Community Puppet Workshop
11:30 a.m. Thursday. Mayo Street Arts, 10 Mayo St., Portland, free. mayostreetarts.org Mayo Street Arts is partnering with Portland Ovations for a free community puppet workshop inspired by the Salzburg Marionette's performance of
"The Sound of Music" at Merrill Auditorium. Participants will enjoy a behind-the-scenes puppet theater experience with the marionettes of Portland's
Shoestring Theater. Shuttertock image
8 p.m. Friday. The State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland, $30 to $45, reserved seating. statetheatreportland.com She's often referred to as comedy's lovable queen of mean and is considered to be a cross between Don Rickles, Archie Bunker and a vial of
estrogen. She was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album and appeared on NBC's "Celebrity Apprentice." Lisa Lampanelli merges personal
stories about her life with searing audience insults, so prepare to laugh your head off while being lambasted. Courtesy photo
Black Mountain Winterfest
Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Black Mountain Ski Resort, 39 Glover Road, Rumford. skiblackmountain.org As winter starts to wind down, there's still time to experience the best of the season with three days of events at Black Mountain Winterfest.
Activities include fireworks, live music, bonfires, scenic lift rides, BBQs, dinner specials, sledding, raffles, torch light parade, ski depot demos,
Allagash beer tasting, frozen bubble party and more. Courtesy photo
MET Opera Live: Puccini's 'Manon Lescaut'
1 p.m. Saturday. The Strand Theatre, 345 Main St., Rockland,$27, $15 students 18 and under and college students with ID. rocklandstrand.com Live from New York, it's the MET Opera performing Puccini's passionate love story. "Manon Lescaut" stars soprano Kristine Opolais as the country
girl who transforms herself into a Parisian temptress and tenor Jonas Kaufman is the dashing student trying to woo her. Director Richard Eyre sets the
action in a film noir setting of occupied France. The running time is just over three-and-a-half hours. You can also see it at Cinemagic Grand & Bistro at
Clark's Pond, 333 Clarks Pond Parkway, South Portland and Cinemagic Saco, 779 Portland Road in Saco and Brunswick 10, 19 Gurnet Road in Brunswick. Tickets
are $25. fathomevents.com The Lincoln Theater, 2 Theater St.,
Damariscotta, $25, $5 for youth 18 and under. lcct.org Courtesy photo
Maine Humor Night
7 p.m. Friday. L.L. Bean Camping Department Atrium, 95 Main St., Freeport, free. llbean.com/adventure For a night of Maine humor head to downtown Freeport and catch Maine storytellers Kendall Morse, John McDonald and Brian Daniels. They'll be
spinning classic Down East stories in the spirit of "Bert and I" and you may hear a few folk songs while you're there.
Kendall Morse has been at this for decades and his latest book is "Father Fell Down the Well." Courtesy photo
Yamato Taiko Drummers
7 p.m. Tuesday, March 8. Strom Auditorium, 25 Keelson Drive, Rockport,$10 to $30.
baychamberconcerts.org For an engaging show that merges dance and percussion music, head to Rockport for a performance by the Yamato Taiko Drummers. 20 members strong,
the group is from Mara Prefecture in Japan and they're known for their originality and innovation with the wadaiko (Japanese drum). Since forming in 1993,
the drummers have played more than 3,000 shows in 53 countries to more than six million audience members. Courtesy photo
An Evening with Reginald Dwayne Betts
7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Space Gallery, 538 Congress St., Portland, $10. space538.org Writer Reginald Dwayne Betts' book, "A Question of Freedom: A Memoir of Learning, Survival and Coming of Age in Prison" won an NAACP Image Award.
When he was 16, Betts starting documenting his life after a guilty plea to carjacking and a nine year prison sentence. Since then he's advocated for the
reform of the criminal justice system. As the national spokesperson for the Campaign for Youth Justice, he worked on state and national legislative
reform. In 2012, President Obama appointed him to serve as a Practitioner Member of the Coordinating Council of the Office of Juvenile Justice and
Delinquency Prevention. Betts is being brought to Maine as past of The Telling Room's Super Famous Writer Series. Courtesy photo