Some tips for enjoying the American Folk Festival

Posted Aug. 27, 2009, at 10:15 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — To >American Folk Festival regulars, the following information might be old hat. But if you’re attending the three-day bash for the first time, here are some things to keep in mind to get the most out of your festival experience.

As has been the case for the last several years, tens of thousands of people are expected to make the trip.

Traffic

At 3 p.m. today, part of Main and Railroad streets will be closed to accommodate the festival, Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards said in a news release.

Because of the street closures, those who need to access the Joshua Chamberlain Bridge or the Penobscot Bridge from Main Street and points east and downtown should take Cedar Street to Summer Street and turn left past the police station or drive through downtown.

Edwards recommends that motorists traveling through Bangor this weekend steer clear of downtown and Main Street to avoid delays as traffic is expected to be heavy.

He also said that several residential streets off Main Street will be posted no parking. He also said vehicles parked in off-limits areas might be towed if they block access for emergency vehicles.

Because handicapped parking is limited, those who need help getting around should go to the front of the Bangor Auditorium at Bass Park, Edwards said. There, volunteers will provide help with getting onto buses heading to the festival ground’s main entrances.

For information, check the Police Department’s information line by dialing 947-7382, hitting 9 and entering 5896.

Trains

As has been the case since the festival was born, trains will be part of the mix.

Festival fans should use caution around the active railroad tracks running through the entire length of the waterfront.

Largely due to safety precautions established by railroad police and Maine Operation Lifesaver, a rail safety organization, there have been no train-related accidents during the festival thus far.

Maine Operation Lifesaver’s state coordinator Fred Hirsch urges festival attendees not to use the trestles, which like the tracks are private property, as pedestrian walkways.

If a train does stop, don’t try to crawl under it or cross between its cars, and keep at least 15 feet away from passing trains because cars may have shifted cargo sticking out, Hirsch noted in a rail safety fact sheet issued this week.

Railroad and city police will be looking out for illegal activities such as people placing objects on tracks, throwing objects at trains or trying to hop aboard trains.

Parking and other details

As in previous years, dogs aren’t allowed at the festival, but people should bring such necessities as water, sunscreen, hats with brims, lawn chairs or blankets to sit on, and festival programs and maps.

Parking fees remain the same, with a $5 fee for one day of parking at Bass Park and $10 for a three-day pass. The shuttles, which are free, run between Bass Park and the Heritage and Railroad stages.

Downtown Bangor has many public parking lots, plus the Pickering Square parking garage. Those familiar with downtown should park in one of those spots.

Others should follow these directions:

• From the north or southbound lanes of Interstate 95, take Exit 182A to Interstate 395, then take Exit 3B to Bass Park parking.

• Traffic from the coast taking Route 1A should access I-395 in Brewer and take Exit 3 to Bass Park parking.

General festival information, including schedules and maps, can be found at www.americanfolkfestival.com.

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