Thursday August 19, 2010 | 11:04 PM

The festivities surrounding the 29th annual MS Harborfest Weekend sailed into action tonight at Ocean Gateway with a fabulous party featuring finger foods, signature cocktails and more than 100 auction items. Everyone praised the venue, which served up gorgeous views of Portland Harbor and all its boat traffic. With a long balcony and cooling ocean breezes it was the prefect place to spend a warm summer night.

WMTW-8 anchor Shannon Moss emceed the party with her usual grace and charm. To the left of Shannon in the above snapshot is photographer Cara Slifka, consulting her camera display. She does excellent work and we can look for the photos she shot tonight in an upcoming issue of Maine magazine.

Alfred resident Janet Dunn spoke to the crowd about her personal experiences with MS. She was diagnosed three decades ago and has since become an ambassador for the MS Society. She told us how she works at Goodall Hospital and is living medication-free. Her story and her positive attitude were a wonderful inspiration.

After the last silent auction table closed, auctioneer Tom Saturley got the bidding and the laughter rolling as items such as a set of Red Sox box seats and a Tag Heuer watch came up on the block. By my count, the live auction alone brought in more than $5,000.

The fun continues tomorrow night, when there's a reception for the skippers who will race this weekend. On Saturday morning at 10:45 a.m., there's a boat parade in the harbor. This is followed by the MS Power Boat Poker Run at 11 a.m.  and then the MS Regatta at 12:30 p.m. On Sunday the first-ever MS  Lobster Boat Races take place at 10 a.m. A tugboat muster follows at 11 a.m. on the Maine State Pier (which opens at 10 a.m. to the public), followed by a tugboat parade at 1 p.m., a tug race at 1:30 p.m. and a tug pushing competition at 2:30 p.m.

The best spot to the view the races from land is in Fort Allen Park on the Eastern Prom.

If you want to find out more about the MS Harborfest Benefit Auction and the important work of the MS Society, pick up this weekend's Maine Sunday Telegram where I'll have additional details and snapshots.

Until then, I hope to see you out and about.


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Avery Yale Kamila dishes about southern Maine's hottest parties.

Avery can be contacted at 791-6297 or
On Twitter: @AveryYaleKamila

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