There’s a lot more happening this summer in Maine than there was last year.

Many of the fairs, festivals and other fun, outdoor events that were canceled because of the pandemic are back.

So if you like more structure to your summer days than lounging on the beach, or want to mark up your calendar with some weekend plans to look forward to, look no further than this roundup of the season’s highlights, as it almost returns to normal.

The Blistered Fingers Bluegrass Festival in Sidney. Jeff Pouland/Staff Photographer

Blistered Fingers Family Bluegrass Festival
June 17-20 and Aug. 26-29. Litchfield Fairgrounds, 30 Plains Road.
You can start and end your summer on a very blue note in Litchfield by attending the mid-June or end of August version of the long-running Blistered Fingers Family Bluegrass Festival. There’s nothing quite like a high, lonesome harmony after a very lonesome year. The long list of acts for June includes The Gibson Brothers, The Baker Family, Beartracks, Redwood Hill and the house band Blistered Fingers.

Miniature horse pulling at the 2018 Monmouth Fair. Joe Phelan/Staff Photographer

Monmouth Fair
June 23-26. Monmouth Fairgrounds, 75 Academy Road.
Find some old-fashioned mirth in Monmouth at the town’s annual fair. It packs a whole lot into four days, and the fun includes a midway with rides by Smokey’s Greater Shows. The fair’s entertainment schedule features The Curtis Bogwater Band and Sharon Hood & Dixon Band. You’ll also find fair favorites including pig scrambles, frying pan toss, hay bale toss, 4-by-4 off-road truck events and plenty to see in the exhibition hall.

Windjammer Days 
June 27 to July 3. Boothbay Harbor.
Windjammer Days celebrates all things nautical and the boat runneth over with fun for the entire family. Events and activities include the Gathering of the Fleet, Tall Ships Festival, Porch Parade, Cod Fish Relay, Antique Boat Parade, Pirates of the Dark Rose, Lighted Boat Parade and fireworks over the harbor. Speaking of tall ships, for $20 you can set sail aboard the Tall Ship Lynx, Nao Santa Maria and Spirit of Bermuda. All aboard!

Thornetta Davis. Selfie by the artist

North Atlantic Blues Festival
July 10 and 11. Public Landing, 70 Lake Ave., Rockland.
Regardless of the weather, there will be blue skies over Rockland during the North Atlantic Blues Festival. The blues will rule for two stacked days of performances that include Ana Popovic, Jason Ricci, Tennessee Redemption, Coco Montoya, Blues Caravan, Tulle Brae, Thornetta Davis, Gumbo Grits & Gravy, Johnny Rawls Soul Revue, Ronnie Baker Brook and RB Stone. On Saturday night, Main Street is closed to traffic for free outdoor performances from Bonnie Edwards & The Practical Cats, Matt and The Barnburners, Downeast Soul Coalition and others.

Maine Folk: A Gathering of Kindred Spirits
July 16-18. Thomas Point Beach & Campground, 29 Meadow Road, Brunswick.
Three days at a gorgeous beachside with live music and overnight camping options? Heck, yes! Maine Folk: A Gathering of Kindred Spirits is just that and you can come for one day or the entire thing. No matter what option you choose, you’ll love the music as there’s a total of 12 acts performing including Emilia Dahlin, Jason Spooner Band, Cold Chocolate, Adam Ezra Group and Tricky Britches. If you opt to camp, there will be late-night campfire jamborees.

The Maine Boatbuilders Show and Maine Small Craft Celebration
July 23-26. Portland Yacht Services, 100 West Commercial St., Portland.
Ahoy! Whether you’re the captain of a dream yacht or just dream of owning a rowboat, you’ll want to hit the Portland waterfront this weekend. The Maine Boatbuilders Show and Maine Small Craft Celebration features indoor exhibits, 2,500 feet of docks with in-the-water exhibits, seminars, educational and job opportunities, a marine flea market and plenty of boats for sale.

Fresh bread from Daily Bread is displayed at the Daily Bread tent at the Artisan Bread Fair. Michael G. Seaman/Staff Photographer

The 11th annual Maine Artisan Bread Fair
July 31. Skowhegan Fairgrounds, Constitution Avenue.
Anyway you slice it, going to the Maine Artisan Bread Fair sounds like a great idea. Who doesn’t want to loaf around with more than 60 artisanal vendors? What more could you knead? Plenty! Along with all the bread, you’ll find maple syrup, cheese and jams and hear live music. There will also be books and equipment for sale, and professional bakers will share their wisdom.

One of many horse races pass in front of the 150 year-old refurbished Grandstand at the Topsham Fair. Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

Topsham Fair
Aug. 10-15. Topsham Fairgrounds, Fairgrounds Road.
Hats off to the Topsham Fair, now in its 167th year. You’ve got five days to immerse yourself in a wide assortment of classic fair happenings. From the thrills of carnival rides to the excitement of harness racing and the demolition derby, this fair will keep everyone happy and entertained. Mingle with the livestock, check out the exhibition hall and musical entertainment and, of course, don’t forget to eat your fill of fair food.

Italian Drop Cookies will be one of the highlights of the upcoming annual Italian Street Festival at St. Peter’s Church in Portland. Shawn Patrick Ouellette/Staff Photographer

St. Peter’s Church Italian Bazaar
Aug. 13-15. Outside St. Peter’s Church, 72 Federal St., Portland. On Facebook
Two words: Italian cookies! That should be enough to entice you to the St. Peter’s annual Italian Bazaar, back after last year’s pandemic hiatus. There are thousands of freshly baked cookies to choose from. But there are a few other key words to know about as well: Pasta and pizza! Eat your way through the evening while enjoying entertainment, which includes the young and young at heart attempting to reach the top of a greased flag pole. Everyone’s Italian for at least one day. Mangiamo!

Bluegrass Festival at Thomas Point Beach in Brunswick. Gordon Chibroski/Staff Photographer

Thomas Point Beach Bluegrass Festival
Sept. 2-5. Thomas Point Beach & Campground, 29 Meadow Road, Brunswick.
Make this Labor Weekend a slam dunk success by heading to Thomas Point Beach & Campground for a whole mess of fantastic bluegrass music during a festival that was launched back in 1979. Go for one day or all four days, and for an added layer of adventure, book a camping site. This year’s lineup includes Missy Raines & Allegheny, Sam Bush, The Del McCoury Band, Steep Canyon Rangers, The Gibson Brothers, Po’ Ramblin’ Boys, Michael Cleveland & Flamekeeper, Joe Mullins & The Radio Ramblers, Chris Jones & The Night Drivers, The Becky Buller Band and several others.

The Snow Pond On Tap beer festival happens in Sidney. Per-Boge/

Snow Pond On Tap
Sept. 11. Snow Pond Center for the Arts, 8 Golden Rod Lane, Sidney.
As the summer starts to wind down, things are still sizzling in Sidney with the inaugural beer festival, Snow Pond on Tap. You’ll find more than 25 brewers from Maine and Vermont pouring their creations. On the music front, your ears will be treated to alt-country, Americana and rock from the Mallett Brothers Band, Muddy Ruckus and Adam Ezra. What’s more, the setting will sure be sweet as you’ll be on Messalonskee Lake. The festival is being presented by the Snow Pond Center for the Arts.

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