Festive fun

I hope you all survived the heat and humidity of the last week. Rather unique for June, but nothing seems predictable with the weather these days. This week is going to be filled with wonderful things for our community.

The Maine Blues Festival is so big that I cannot even wrap my fingers around it. Start with the Village Green, work your way down the Causeway, to The Freedom Cafa, the Songo River Queen and then on to the Tiki Bar, Bray’s, The Naples Golf and Country Club and Shaker’s.

There will be transportation available, so take advantage of all of the music venues, food and community spirit. The bus rides are free for all passengers with Blues Fest wristbands. You can get the wristbands in advance at Bray’s or the Greater Bridgton Lakes Region Chamber on Route 302 in Bridgton.

I love seeing new small businesses popping up in our community. For 18 years, Deb Dean and her husband Jack vacationed here and five years ago were bitten by the retirement bug and put down roots here in Naples. Being very creative, Deb has opened a small studio called “Deb Dean Art” at their home at 32 Lambs Mill Road.

She features all of her own original artwork, including watercolor paintings, Chinese brush paintings, decorative tiles and so much more. Dean will be on the Village Green on Saturday during the festival, so please stop by to see some of her beautiful items. I also believe she is holding a raffle for an original piece of art, so do take the time to visit.

The Naples Republican Committee will also have a booth on the Village Green this Saturday from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m. to raise money for local Republican campaigns. Popcorn and cotton candy will be for sale and there will be a raffle of a DeWalt cordless drill, a digital camera, and a beautiful, handmade Afghan. Stop by to pick up information and meet local candidates throughout the day.

The Naples Main Street Committee will be on the Village Green as well. We will be selling note cards and tee shirts designed by Jane Croteau, which depict the four seasons in our town. You will also be able to place orders for numbered and signed original framed prints of this artwork.

There will only be 100 original prints of each of the four pieces created, so be the first to own one of these original works of art that are destined to become collector’s items. All proceeds will go directly to the Naples Main Street fund, which is dedicated to the beautification and revitalization of our entire main street area from Route 11 to the Naples Fire Barn.

The Village Green has been designated as the “family area” for the Maine Blues Festival, so in addition to everything else, there will be food, face painting, music and other activities. Make the Green your first, middle or last stop, but make sure you get there. There will be something for everyone.

Fresh buys

Speaking of something for everyone, I really must encourage you to visit our Bridgton/Naples Farmers’ Markets. Last week I bought a homemade loaf of cheddar onion bread from Shepherd’s River Farm that was out of this world. I also got the most unusual potted flower arrangement that has snapdragons, lilies, nasturtiums and decorative peppers (which actually look like miniature corn stalks). It is absolutely gorgeous. I even got some tips on how to keep it alive.

There is something different every week, depending on the growing season. I cannot wait for the fresh tomatoes. The creamy goat cheese spreads are delectable and I was told by the producer that some people who are lactose intolerant can eat and enjoy this product.

David Allenson is now carrying this product in his new cheese case at the Umbrella Factory (Tony’s Foodland). Once you experience the friendly atmosphere and the quality of the produce available, I know you will return every week.

The Naples market is open Thursdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on the Village Green. The Bridgton market is open on Saturdays from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Community Center on Depot Street. If you would like more information or would like to sell your own produce or baked goods, please call 452-2772. I would love to see some 4-H groups out there.

Lakers return

Congratulations to the Lake Region High School graduating class of 2008. Even though it was terribly hot, the ceremony was lovely and it was wonderful to have it outside. The graduates have safely returned from their Project Grad white water rafting trip and I cannot wait to fill you in on the fun they had, as well as the chaperones!

Sometimes when the week comes to an end I really do not know what people want to hear about. I have my relevant issues, but my thoughts are not necessarily what all of you want to hear.

That is why I want to hear from you. I need to know what you like and what you would like to see changed or enhanced. I welcome any and all suggestions that would make this column more interesting to everyone.

Have a great week and enjoy the Maine Blues Festival.

Deb Dean in front of her Lambs Mill studio with her golden retrievers, Bonnie, left, and Clyde.

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