POP! pulls in a big crowd of performing arts lovers to a festive party in support of Portland Ovations’ community programs.

Portland Ovations knows how to throw a party. POP! – its annual auction celebrating Ovations Offstage – completely transformed The Portland Company on Oct. 7, to the delight of a large and appreciative crowd.

With nearly 300 revelers in attendance, the cavernous space on Fore Street in Portland became a fiesta of lights, color and sound reminiscent of the best urban street fairs.

Food and drink were plentiful, silent auction items were valuable and abundant, and a sense of jubilance and excitement filled the air.

“POP! is more than an invaluable fundraiser for O2, it’s a fun way to experience our community,” said Aimée Petrin, executive director of Portland Ovations. “The great restaurants, merchants, local businesses, artists and each other. We enjoy ourselves as much as our guests do!”

Board member Mary Noyes of Freeport and Nantucket enjoyed the Portland Ovations Presents! festivities with fellow board member Jim Morgan, also of Freeport, along with Dr. Robert and Susana Hubbs of Cape Elizabeth, Nat Thompson of Scarborough and Nancy Litrocapes of Westbrook.

“I’m a longtime supporter,” said Thompson, executive producer of Greenlight Maine.

Catherine Anderson, the director of Ovations Offstage, was beaming with excitement at both her program and the support that has fallen behind it.

“Ovations Offstage encompasses all of the events that happen before and after a main-stage performance,” Anderson said. Its programs include school-time performances and in-school workshops.

“We are reaching out into different areas of the community that are best served by engaging with and experiencing Ovations.”

One of the evening’s highlights was a pop-up drumming performance by Taiko Maine Dojo, which was commanding and thunderous.

“Portland Ovations has really solidified Portland as a cultural center, bringing Broadway shows, national headliners and quality entertainment that is usually reserved for much larger cities,” said Bob Witkowski, creative director of Greater Portland Convention and Visitors Bureau. “It’s one of the great organizations that has put Portland on the map.”

Margaret Logan is a freelance writer who lives in Scarborough. She can be reached at:

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