The inaugural Westbrook Discovered Gala on May 23 celebrated what draws people to the city’s downtown: food and drink, a thriving art scene and live music. The four-hour night out at BreaLu Cafe featured Westbrook-made food and drinks, an art-focused auction and dancing with 10-piece party band Plush.

“Discover Downtown Westbrook is promoting Main Street and working to bring folks into Westbrook,” said Lilly Van Der Stennhoven, who owns Bloom Consignment and Resale. “And who doesn’t love to dress up?”

With nearly 100 guests and 22 corporate sponsors, the gala raised $4,000 to support the many programs of nonprofit Discover Downtown Westbrook.

Executive Director Amy Grommes Pulaski said, “We help introduce people to what we love about Westbrook: The Penobscot River. The incredible community of artists and artisans at Dana Warp Mill and throughout downtown. And our Main Street businesses and restaurants.”

Mary Brooking of Continuum for Creativity was one of seven artists to contribute original work for the gala auction. “A thriving downtown has unique independent enterprises, and Discover Downtown Westbrook has been instrumental in promoting them, mine included,” she said. “We have so many restaurants and creative businesses here. Spend a weekend in Westbrook and you’ll see.”

Likewise, Mayor David Morris said, “If you visit downtown, it’s so much more vibrant than 10 years ago. That’s a collaboration between Discover Downtown Westbrook and the City.”


Discover Downtown Westbrook stewards the city-owned property called Westbrook Common and. with the Commons’ neighbor Northeast Credit Union as a sponsor, offers free happenings every Friday through Sunday, such as live music, markets, and interactive dance and art events.

In another collaboration, the city closes traffic on Vallee Square six Thursday nights in the summer so Discover Downtown Westbrook can host a free concert series on the street along the Riverwalk with a view of the waterfalls.

This summer’s lineup includes U2 cover band Slate (July 18), a Fleetwood Mac tribute (July 25), a dueling pianos Billy Joel and Elton John tribute (Aug. 1), an ’80s night with No Guts No Glory (Aug. 8), Kenny Chesney tribute band Redneck Castaway Bank (Aug. 15) and disco party band Motor Booty Affair (Aug. 22).

“We get people together and put on events that make this feel like a community rather than just where we reside, making it more like a neighborhood,” said board member Rhonda Forrester.

Founded in 2017, Discover Downtown Westbrook is one of 10 accredited Main Street communities statewide, along with Biddeford, Saco, Brunswick, Bath, Rockland, Belfast, Gardiner, Augusta and Skowhegan. Event listings, business profiles and links to all 10 Main Street communities are at

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

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