Besides the more serious questions about public health and safety, many of us our now left wondering, what will we do for fun?

Experts are warning against mingling in large crowds and mostly everything with a large crowd has been canceled anyway, from live sporting events and concerts to dance parties and other celebrations.

If you’re looking for alternatives to those events, you might take a clue from the events themselves. If you can’t go to a Maine Mariners hockey game, what other type of game might satisfy you? If you can’t do things inside, what can you do outside?

Here are suggestions on how to find a substitute for some of those canceled activities or crowded events.

Make your own pancake breakfast to avoid crowds. Photo by Tim Greenway/Staff Photographer

A SWEET SUBSTITUTE

Maybe you were planning on going to the now-canceled Maine Maple Sunday event at Pineland Farms in New Gloucester. Some farms will likely still host events, but if you don’t want to stand in a line with hundreds of people at a Maine Maple Sunday pancake breakfast you can host your own.  Why not have your own pancake breakfast at your house and call it the (Family Name Here) Maple Sunday Breakfast? Break out your favorite pancake recipe, maybe a fancy one from Martha Stewart or a wicked simple one from Good Housekeeping magazine. For good local maple syrup you could run out to any number of small markets, like the Rosemont markets in Greater Portland or the Portland Food Co-Op.

PLAY THE GAME

If you were planning on going to a Maine Mariners hockey game or Maine Red Claws basketball game in Portland, maybe you can transfer your love of competition to a board game. Instead of sitting in a seating watching others, gather around the kitchen table with the family and play a rousing game of Monopoly or Trivial Pursuit. Maybe you’ll be inspired by hit murder mystery film “Knives Out” to play Clue. Maybe if you play Life, it’ll help you escape from some of the tensions of actual life right now.

The game of Life has been around a long time, so why not play? This is a box from around 1910. Photo courtesy of the Margaret Chase Smith Library

OUTDOOR GYM

If indoor exercise, like going to a gym, is not very appealing right now, go outside. Take a long walk someplace nearby and scenic, like Evergreen Cemetery in Portland, a National Historic Landmark in the Deering Center neighborhood. Or you could walk the scenic Greenbelt path in South Portland along Portland Harbor from the Knightville neighborhood to the lighthouse at Bug Light Park. You could also get further out into nature by hiking a state park, like Bradbury Mountain in Pownal or Popham Beach in Phippsburg.

ROCK ON

Lots of concerts have been canceled, and experts are saying we should stay out of big crowds. So how does one get their fill of live music in this environment? Look for some band or singer, local or otherwise, that is live-streaming a show. As the pandemic grinds on, more will probably do this. Local singer-songwriter and guitarist Samuel James is planning to live-stream his monthly gig with rootsy guitarist Dana Gross on Friday, from 8 to 9:30 p.m. It’s usually at Blue in Portland, but where ever they play, they plan to live-stream it, James said on his Facebook page. The pair of musicians will make the show an all-request affair, so people can ask for their favorite in the comments section of the page.

Portland musician Samuel James will be live-streaming a performance for fans. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

THE SHOW GOES ON

Movie theaters were still open last week, with Cinemagic saying it would limit seating in its Maine theaters to 200 people per auditorium. But if you’d rather not venture into a crowd to see a movie, make your home a theater. Go out and get some popcorn and soda, which are hopefully not in as short supply as toilet paper, and settle in. For movie ideas you can look at the list of iTunes most-downloaded movies of 2020 so far. These include the fairly recent World War I epic “1917” and the fairly recent animated film “Spies in Disquise.” Also near the top of that list is a film happens to be nine years old. It’s a thriller about the havoc wreaked by a fast-spreading virus called “Contagion.”  It might be fun to see what the Hollywood version of a pandemic is. Then again, it might not.

Popham Beach State Park is a good place for a walk. Photo by John Ewing/Staff Photographer

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