BYOV, bring your own vessel – that’s the simple premise behind Portland Greendrinks, the informal, volunteer-managed social networking group built around a common interest in the natural environment and local brews.

Greendrinks had been flowing regularly in the Portland area for about a dozen years until the pandemic shutdown.

“This is our first event back, and it sold out like that,” said board member Aviva Shaw, snapping her fingers.

Greendrinks returned July 13 with a gathering at Portland’s newest park, a newly landscaped piece of land on the waterfront between Ocean Gateway and Fore Points Marina, tentatively called Park on Amethyst. More than 250 people preregistered via Eventbrite – a Greendrinks first – at $10 a ticket to benefit Portland Parks Conservancy. Drinks were courtesy of Banded Brewing, Nonesuch River Brewing, Orono Brewing, Sebago Brewing, Hardshore Distillery and Norumbega Cidery.

“Its fantastic to be back and see familiar people,” said Steve Phillips, a Portland resident sipping from a Campbell’s Soup container. “There’s a sense of community springing back to life.”

Hannah Wolken of Portland was introduced to Greendrinks, which has events all over the world, when she lived in New York.

“When I moved here, I was excited to discover we have the same thing,” she said. “And it’s with people with common values and interests. It started as a networking group for people working in or interested in the environment.”

Each Greendrinks event highlights and benefits a nonprofit. Folks wear name tags and, this time, also wrote their favorite of Portland’s 67 public parks.

“This is Portland’s newest park and part of a whole development of parks planned along the waterfront here between Ocean Gateway and what had been The Portland Company and is now Four Points Marina,” said Nan Cumming, executive director of Portland Parks Conservancy, a nonprofit that raises funds to support the parks with projects related to access, inclusion and collaboration.

“We try to raise funds for things the city can’t do on its own,” Cumming said. “We’re working to secure more land along the eastern waterfront for park space, turning a lot of concrete, basically, into parks. The importance of Greendrinks, for us as relatively new organization founded in 2018, is meeting 250 new people.”

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and editor based in Scarborough. She can be invited to parties at [email protected]

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