Most of us are finding ways to patronize and support our local businesses during these challenging times. We shop, dine, use services either in person or online and, yes, purchase gift cards for future use. The Brunswick Downtown Association has launched a creative new way to ensure that its members – including many restaurants and bars – remain vital and strong. It is called “Lights of Hope” and it’s designed to provide cash to local businesses and, at the same time, support holiday lighting in downtown Brunswick.

Holiday lights in downtown Brunswick supported in part by the annual “Lights of Hope” fundraiser, which has now begun. Courtesy / Brunswick Downtown Association

Here’s how it works: The downtown association is encouraging customers to purchase gift cards from downtown Brunswick businesses and donate the cards to the Downtown Association for a raffle. Raffle winners will be drawn at the Holiday Tree Lighting ceremony on the Brunswick Mall on Nov. 28. The ceremony and drawing will be held either in person or virtually depending upon public health circumstances at the time. Raffle tickets are $10 each, plus a 50-cent processing fee, and are available at brunswickdowntown.org. They will also be sold at various businesses around Brunswick and at the BDA office, 85 Maine St.

Everyone is welcome to participate, not just Brunswick residents. It is a plan that has something for all of us – cash support for local businesses and the chance to win a big prize of local gift cards. This is an innovative way for the Maine community to once again help our neighbors.

Culinary News

Wilbur’s of Maine Chocolates is offering a series of “hot-weather” candy collections that are approved for shipping to friends and family. Items include salt water taffy, Gummi Lobstahs, Rocky Coast Pebbles, Maine Mud and more. Details at wilburs.com/shop. Wilbur’s shops are in both Freeport and Brunswick.

Now You’re Cooking, 49 Front St., Bath, is offering video cooking classes at acooksemporium.com/videos. In-store shopping and curbside pickup is also available.

Aug. 7

Pineland Farms Family Ice Cream Making Program, 10:30-11:30 a.m., 15 Farm View Drive, New Gloucester, $6/person with children 2 and under free. View ice cream making, explore the dairy barns, then taste the sweet treat. Group size is limited to 10 people and reservations are required, 650-3031. Additional dates are Aug. 12, 18 and 28.

Pineland Farms is continuing its Graze summer dining series. This event features food items from Snell Family Farm and beverages from Fore River Brewing. Service begins at 6 p.m. with hors d’oeuvres, followed by a four-course small plate dinner that includes heirloom tomato salad, lemon pepper pappardelle, seared Maine scallops and pink peppercorn raspberry sorbet. Because of the virus the dinner will be served plated rather than the usual family-style service. Tickets are $75/person at Eventbrite.

Aug. 13

Now You’re Cooking monthly wine tasting, 5-7 p.m., free. 49 Front St., Bath, 443-1402, no reservations required. This event is the second Thursday of every month.

Oct. 3

UncorkME Wine Festival, 4-7 p.m., Portland Exposition Building, 239 Park Ave. Tickets at Eventbrite, $10 for designated driver, $45 for unlimited wine sampling. Food will be available for sale.

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