PORTLAND — Shortly after noon Sunday, customers were lined up at Chloe Libby’s Peace, Love and Lemonade Stand at the corner of Temple and Free streets.

At age 7, Chloe, of Falmouth, was one of the youngest vendors doing a brisk business at the Old Port Festival. The one-day event, which shut down several blocks of the Old Port for six hours, drew thousands of people who listened to music, sipped on lemonade and other cold drinks, dined on fried dough, popcorn and clam cakes, and browsed dozens of tents filled with hand-crafted items that only Mainers could dream up.

The annual festival, in its 39th year, is one of the region’s kickoffs to summer. It dates back to the days when the Old Port’s dilapidated 19th-century buildings were being restored and the area was transformed into a tourist destination.

In 2010, organizers decided to move the festival from the first Sunday in June to the second. They did so after studying weather patterns over a period of 15 years and discovering it had rained on 12 of the 15 festival days held during that span.

The change paid off this year. It poured on the first Sunday of June, but a week later the festival took place under clear skies with temperatures in the 70s. Festival organizers said they expected up to 40,000 visitors.

“It’s solid from Commercial Street up,” said Jan Beitzer, executive director of Portland’s Downtown District, the festival organizer.

Despite the crowds, Portland police said late Sunday there were no arrests or disturbances related to the festival.

Monica Foley and her fiance, Gary McAuslin of Saco, were hawking their Blackberry Hill Designs, including Scrabble tiles recycled into pendants and vinyl records refashioned into bowls, clocks and smartphone speakers.

“I try to think of ways to reuse materials,” Foley said.

Bill Page of South Berwick, inventor of the Buoy Bat, demonstrated his product, fashioned out of baseball bats and lobster buoys, with several swings. Page said this was his first appearance at the festival.

“It’s going pretty well, and there are a lot of nice people,” he said.

The moose antler creations produced by Tim Messier of Messier Studios in Lee were flying off the shelves. Lee said he got the idea of turning the antlers, which are shed annually by the male variety of Maine’s signature quadruped, into spoons and door knobs after finding them around his backyard.

“Business seems pretty good,” said Messier, who also carves other natural materials.

Heather and Jason O’Meara said the crowds, music and smells and the beautiful weather made it worth the ride up from Waterboro to Portland with their children, Amelia, 5, Audrey, 4, and Andrew, 2.

“It is a way to expose the kids to a lot of things. It is very kid-friendly and it’s free,” Heather O’Meara said. 

Back at the Peace, Love and Lemonade Stand, Chloe said her goal was to make enough to pay back the $100 put up by her investors, including her mother, Jen Libby, and stepmother, Lori Voornas, and have enough left over to donate to Safe Passages, a Yarmouth-based organization that helps children whose families work at the Guatemala City Garbage Dump.

“I am the entrepreneur of this lemonade stand,” Chloe announced as she watched her twin brothers, Alden and Benjamin, 4, drink up some of the profits.

Staff Writer Beth Quimby can be contacted at 791-6363 or at:

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