September is a secret season in Bridgton, when many of the tourists have gone home but summer stays. Hot days and cool nights are perfect for swimming and sunning, then building a bonfire and bundling up against the evening chill. Our gardens are in full flower, with tomatoes, squash and pumpkins hanging heavy on the vine. The Farmer’s Market is at the peak of harvest too, so stop by on Saturday morning to support our local growers and stuff your basket with Maine’s best organic produce, cheeses, breads and more. And don’t forget the farms and fields out of town; I just got a bushel of ripe peaches from Pietree Orchards in Sweden that tasted just like my childhood in Nashville. We are still surrounded by summer’s bounty, and there are plenty of discoveries waiting down the road.

Field Trip

Festival season rolls on as the fields and valleys of Shawnee Peak will be filled with the sound of music this weekend. The first annual Pleasant Mountain MusicFest brings a daylong roster of local talent to town, and all proceeds go to the Bridgton Fuel Collaborative.

The festival, with 10 bands, kicks off at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 6, and goes until 4. The musicians are donating their time, the mountain donated the venue, and the dozens of people who have worked all year to make it happen donated their efforts. Tickets are only $20, with children 12 and under free, and every penny goes to help low-income Bridgton residents stay warm this winter. The line-up includes local favorites Jonathan Sarty, Dustin LaDale, SF Jones and Packman Dave.

It’ll be a fun day on the beautiful slopes for a great cause, so please stop by and support a great cause. For more information, check out

Empty Bowl

Our gardens might be overflowing, but many local pantries are bare. Hunger in Maine is a hidden epidemic, but one that sadly affects many families. CrossWalk Community Outreach director Joanna Moore has teamed up with Dick Enright and the Bridgton-Lake Region Rotary Club to help locals who need food assistance.

September is Hunger Action Month, and the calendar is full of ways you can participate. On Monday, Sept. 8, the Magic Lantern will offer a free screening of “A Place At the Table,” a critically acclaimed film about hunger in America. It starts at 5:30 and has limited seating of 150 people. Show up early and stay for the post-film discussion, sponsored by CrossWalk. On Monday, Sept. 15, the Empty Bowl supper will raise money to support local food pantries through the winter months, and $10 gets you dinner and a souvenir bowl. All proceeds raised go straight to the pantries. The monthlong effort culminates on Friday, Sept. 26, where a food drive truck will be at Hannaford from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. for you to donate as much food as you can. Then the annual “Rise Up and Walk For Hunger” begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday the 27th at the Bridgton Alliance Church. Thanks for your support! No child should go hungry in the wealthiest country in the world.

Sing Out

It is eternally confounding to me that I grew up in Nashville surrounded by so much musical talent and am still totally tone deaf. I love to sing but wouldn’t subject my worst enemy to it. However, if you can carry a tune this is for you. The Lake Region Community Chorus is kicking off its second fall season, and they are holding their first rehearsal on Monday, Sept. 8.

Join the singers, led by conductor Jan Jukkola, at 6 p.m. at Bridgton Academy’s Twitchell Chapel. More than 40 members will practice varied styles of musical interpretation and teaching methods, with 13 weeks of rehearsals leading up to the big winter concerts the first weekend of December. Each member is asked to pay $20 toward sheet music for the season. The group is warm and welcoming, and no auditions are required. Just show up and sing.

Harvest Supper

My grandmother was a proud member of the southern Order of the Eastern Star, the ladies auxiliary that supports their Mason husbands, and would cook catfish and hushpuppy dinners on summer weekends. The tradition continues here as the ladies host a Harvest Dinner at the Masonic Hall on Saturday, Sept. 13, from 5-6:30 p.m.

The Maine menu is boiled ham, potatoes, turnips, cabbage, carrots, beets and homemade cobbler with ice cream. The cost is $9 and proceeds go to support local outreach by the Masons.

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