Summer’s here, and the time is right for festivals. Maine has a bumper crop from which to choose, and it can be somewhat overwhelming. We’ve compiled a list of 10 must-attend festivals to help you find your way through the weeds.
Feeling the need to wrestle in a vat of mashed potatoes? Want to try your hand at hurling heavy wooden poles through the air? In the mood for a whole lot of lobster and clams? Up for some serious yoga? Feel like some sandcastle building and a lighthouse lighting? Hungry for a pig roast? Ready for some windjammers? Shopping for the best in hipster crafts?
We’ve got you covered.
Use this list as a summer planner, and check back with GO every week to supplement your festival fare, because there truly is something going on between now and Labor Day to satisfy every entertainment need. They don’t call Maine Vacationland for nothing, you know.
There are two kinds of people in the world: Those who love the taste of the soft drink Moxie and those who are horrified by it. The good news is that the annual Moxie Festival doesn’t require ingestion of the legendary liquid — unless, of course, you want to. Over the course of three days, you can partake of fireworks, a car show, the Spirit of the Wolf Pow-Wow, a parade, a river race, a concert by the ’80s cover band Twyce Shy and, yes, a Moxie Chugging Challenge.
WHEN: July 12-14
WHERE: Various locations, Lisbon Falls
COST: Free; admission fee for some activities
Put on some comfortable clothes and get ready to stretch, breathe, relax and stretch some more. The Maine YogaFest features 30 local teachers and 20 studios. Styles of yoga offered include acro, slackline, paddleboard, hooping and more. Whether you’re an expert or a newbie, this festival invites you to learn about and experience a whole bunch of yoga. Five dollars from every ticket sold goes to Preble Street, which helps lower-income and homeless people.
WHEN: July 13-14
WHERE: East End Community School, 195 North St., Portland
COST: A few events are free. A four-workship pass costs $90; a five-workshop pass costs $125.
MAINE POTATO BLOSSOM FESTIVAL
Celebrate the diversity and wonder of the Maine potato over the course of an 11-day festival in Fort Fairfield. There’s a giant spud sack full of options, including river races, road races, a potato-picking contest, a town-wide yard sale, fireworks, a parade and, best of all — mashed potato wrestling!
WHEN: July 13-21
WHERE: Various locations, Fort Fairfield
YARMOUTH CLAM FESTIVAL
When it comes to clams, Yarmouth is the place to be, and this year marks the 48th anniversary of the clam festival. Enjoy a craft show, a fine arts show, a parade, a canoe and kayak race, a road race, a clam-shucking contest, a firefighter’s muster competition, a bike race, a diaper derby, fireworks, live music, a carnival and a whole mess of clams.
WHEN: July 19-21
WHERE: Main Street, Yarmouth
MAINE LOBSTER FESTIVAL
Maine’s favorite crustacean plays a starring role in the Maine Lobster Festival, where you can get your fill of seafood and also have a heck of a good time. Highlights include a lobster crate race, a fun run and walk, an arts and crafts show, a cooking contest, a marine tent and a big parade. This year’s live music schedule boasts Keith Partridge himself, David Cassidy; The Spin Doctors; The Nutopians; The Mallett Brothers Band and the Preservation Jazz Band, among others.
WHEN: July 31 to Aug. 4
WHERE: Harbor Park, Rockland
COST: $8; $2 for ages 6 to 12; free for ages 5 and under. Tickets required for some events.
YORK DAYS AND LIGHTING OF THE NUBBLE
Southern Maine is the place to be for the annual York Days and Lighting of the Nubble Lighthouse. Events include concerts, sandcastle building, a craft fair, Christmas in July (without the cold), softball and golf tournaments, and fireworks with the Air Force Band of Liberty.
WHEN: July 27 to Aug. 4
WHERE: Short Sands Beach and Sohier Park, York
REDNECK PIG ROAST BBQ AND MUSIC FESTIVAL
With tongue placed firmly in cheek, you are invited to celebrate a particularly fun side of life with the Redneck Pig Roast BBQ and Music Festival. (Formerly known as the “Redneck Olympics” before the real Olympics got wind of it.) The “sporting” events include mud runs and lawn mower races, bobbing for pigs’ feet, toilet seat horseshoes and a greased watermelon haul.
There will also be a “very wet” T-shirt contest, a demolition derby and plenty of live music from the likes of Skosh, Cold Blue Steel, The Mallett Brothers Band, Back in Black, Uncle Jack and others. What’s more, funds will be raised for several charities, including Camp Sunshine, Bikers Against Bullying and the Shriners Hospital for Children.
WHEN: Aug. 1-4
WHERE: 12 Harold Lane, Hebron
COST: $20 day passes. Weekend passes are $40 in advance and $45 at the gate. (Free camping with weekend pass.)
MAINE HIGHLAND GAMES & SCOTTISH FESTIVAL
Kilts aren’t required — but are most certainly welcome — at this year’s Maine Highland Games & Scottish Festival. It’s a celebration of all things Scottish and Celtic with pipe bands, dance competitions and the Parade of the Tartans. You can also watch or participate in traditional athletic events such as the caber (large wooden pole) toss. While you’re there, you can visit more than 60 clan tents and learn about Scottish organizations and vendors.
WHEN: Aug. 17
WHERE: Topsham Fairgrounds, Route 196
HOW MUCH: $15 in advance; $20 at the gate; $5 for ages 6 to 12
PICNIC MUSIC AND ARTS FESTIVAL
The PICNIC Music and Arts Festival celebrates its sixth year in Portland. Expect more than 120 vendors from Maine and beyond peddling some of the most uniquely produced crafts and artwork out there, including clothing, jewelry, prints and accessories. You’ll also find assorted treasure troves of vintage goods. While shopping, bask in the glow of live local and regional music on the PICNIC stage, and enjoy food from local vendors.
WHEN: Aug. 24
WHERE: Lincoln Park, Portland
CAMDEN WINDJAMMER FESTIVAL
Celebrate the age of sail and go back to when schooners were launched in the harbor and the windjammer business was born. Then enjoy the present day with modern windjammers and yachts that have always been part of Camden’s fabric. There will be a talent show, a lobster crate race, a build-a-boat contest, displays of maritime activities and history, a chowder challenge, pirates, windjammer tours and live music, among other festivities.
WHEN: Aug. 30 to Sept. 1
WHERE: Public Landing and Harbor Park, Camden
COST: Free; tickets required for some activities
Staff Writer Aimsel Ponti can be contacted at 791-6455 or at: