For its fourth annual Mr. Longfellow’s Cocktail Party on May 11, Maine Historical Society moved to O’Maine Studios & Media Kitchens on Danforth Street, where, in a nod to the current MHS exhibition “Maine Eats,” locally produced food and drink took center stage.

“We like to move the party around to discover some interesting new places,” said Nan Cumming, director of institutional advancement. “And tonight we have all Maine foods, both high- and low-brow, from local oysters to mini red hot dogs and whoopie pies.”

“Cheers to the Maine food industry,” said Executive Director Steve Bromage, after taking a swill of Magical History Tour Lager, a pre-Prohibition-style beer brewed by D.L. Geary Brewing Co. for the big Magical History Tour weekend. Not surprisingly, the lager sold out.

For a nonprofit whose mission is looking to the past, Maine Historical has mastered the element of suspense. About 250 people attended Mr. Longfellow’s Cocktail Party, many of whom were there for the big reveal of the 10 secret sites for the following day’s tour. Locations included the U.S. Coast Guard cutter Amberjack, a Boston & Maine Railroad tunnel, the Neal Dow House memorial to temperance and the St. Joseph’s Convent Motherhouse. About 750 people participated in the self-guided tours.

“Each year, we’ve had more and more returning people,” said event chair Jean Gulliver. “This is a remarkable place with a long and fascinating history. We keep surprising and delighting people.”

The cocktail party and tours throughout the city raised $66,000 to teach Maine students about regional history, including covering transportation to get students to historical society programs and to send staff to classrooms throughout Maine.

“I love helping out with this event,” said Jaime Richardson of Portland. “It’s amazing how much history we have in Portland, and I’m learning more as I’m volunteering.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer based in Scarborough. She can be reached at:

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