Ignore all those people who say that winter starts soon. By our clock, there’s more than another entire month of summer to enjoy. We had 80 degree days well into late September last year, for Pete’s sake! But it’ll be gone before you know it, so here’s lots of family-friendly things to do in eastern Maine, to make the most of your summer before it’s over.
Bee Parks and the Hornets
This indie-pop band for young audiences is the creation of the folks at the Bass Harbor-based Barn Arts Collective, which each year offers a different performance spectacle for kids of all ages at the Criterion Theatre in Bar Harbor. Combining upbeat, super-catchy, original live music, puppetry and audience participation, shows are set for the Criterion weekly, 11 a.m. Thursdays and 1 p.m. Sundays, through Labor Day, and tickets are $7 per person.
West Grand Lake Race
Grand Lake Stream and nearby West Grand Lake are world-renowned for their salmon fishing — and for its generations-spanning tradition of hand-built wooden canoes. On Sunday, Aug. 12, the Downeast Lakes Land Trust will celebrate that canoe tradition with the 14th annual West Grand Lake Race, a family-friendly race for canoes, kayaks, rowboats and any nonmotorized watercraft. Registration starts at 9:15 p.m., with races beginning at 10:15 a.m. with a special race for kids, and 4-, 8- and 12-mile races. Registration is $15 for kids 12 and under, and $25 for those 13 and older, and it includes a T-shirt and a post-race cookout.
Machias Blueberry Festival
Maine has lots of fairs all over the state, but the Machias Blueberry Festival is one of the few that forgoes the midway fair rides for something truly homegrown. Instead of strapping yourself into a rickety old Tilt-A-Whirl, you can enjoy the work of the close-knit community of the Machias area, including an original community musical (“A Mermaid’s Tail”), a parade, craft booths and other vendors, lots of live music, a football game, children’s activities and of course, a truly mind-boggling array of blueberry treats. Admission is free, though food and other events aren’t. For more info, visit machiasblueberry.com.
Fortnite, the outrageously popular online video game, has taken the gaming world by storm and has taken over the social lives of many a middle-schooler this summer. If you’ve already accepted that your kids are hopelessly obsessed, you totally make their day by taking them to the Fortnite GameNite set for Saturday, Aug. 18, at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor. There are two sessions (2-4 p.m. and 5-7 p.m.) featuring four different systems (Xbox, PS4, PC and Nintendo Switch). Admission is $15 for general admission or $25 for a VIP ticket that includes a virtual reality experience. For more info, visit the Cross Center website.
Pirate invasions in Winterport and Eastport
Everybody loves pirates. Indulge your inner scallywag with two events in eastern Maine this summer, including the second annual Pirates of the Penobee Winterport Takeover, set for Saturday, Aug. 18, featuring a 10 a.m. pirate invasion at the Winterport waterfront, with cannon fire, followed by tour of the pirate ship and other demonstrations. An adults-only pirate ball is set for 7 p.m. at the Crooked Steeple Hall. If that wasn’t enough, there’s always the legendary Eastport Pirate Festival, a wild time set for Sept. 7-9 this year, featuring three days of pirate everything — pirate food, pirate drink, pirate costumes, pirate music, pirate games and so on. For more info, visit the Eastport Pirate Fest website.
Fort George Revolutionary War weekend
Civil War encampments and re-enactments are commonplace, but Revolutionary War ones are less so — which is why the weekend of Sept. 8 and 9 will be a treat for American Revolution history buff. The Castine Historical Society and the Friends of Castine Fortifications will host two days of battle scenarios, costumed re-enactors, lectures, food and more at Fort George in Castine. Fort George was the site of the ill-fated Penobscot Expedition in 1779, a three-week naval siege that was a disastrous defeat for the U.S. For more information, visit castinehistoricalsociety.org.
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