Call it any name you want: Bangor Boulevard, Festival Fairway or the Penobscot Promenade. Whatever it is, the new layout for the American Folk Festival on the Bangor waterfront is a welcome change to the landscape of the event.
Thousands of festival-goers wandered up and down the roughly quarter-mile dirt pathway, leisurely shopping, eating and chatting with one another as they made their way to and from the dance stage. In years past, the dance stage was set up in a parking lot adjacent to the Kenduskeag Stream, but the new Penobscot County Judicial Center, currently under construction, will now
occupy that spot, necessitating the move. The stage now sits at the south end of the Bangor waterfront, near Hollywood Slots.
Karen Wilson of South Portland said she liked the new setup, which allows for a freer flow of foot traffic.
“It’s kind of nice to walk up and down and look at all the crafts and art,” said Wilson, who has attended the festival for the past three years with her daughters Macy and Madilyn. “And I like that you can see the river. There’s a nice breeze and everything.”
Melissa Mayhew of Bangor enjoyed the long walk down to the dance stage because it allowed her to get a better view of the crowd.
“You can really people watch,” she said. “You get a sense of how big it all is.”Dancers packed the tent for Friday night performances by Diunna Greenleaf and Blue Mercy and Jeffrey Broussard and the Creole Cowboys. Saturday afternoon they were treated to the sounds of salsa by Chino Nunez and Friends, another performance by Broussard and company, and the infectious
rhythmic attack of the Junk Yard Band.
The city of Bangor must have amassed some good karma over the years, as it has been blessed with weekends full of sunshine for the folk festival almost every year since its inception. Temperatures rose into the mid-80s and there was nary a cloud in the sky. Besides the smell of ethnic foods, onion rings and barbecue, the scent of sunscreen filled the air.
“I always get a great tan when I come to the festival,” said Bob Darcie of Ellsworth. “The weather has always been fantastic.”