Friends, food and fun at 12th annual American Folk Festival

Posted Aug. 23, 2013, at 8:53 p.m.
Last modified Aug. 24, 2013, at 4:44 p.m.

The brassy fanfares of Jorge Arce and Raiz de Plena, a Puerto Rican plena band, led a crowd down Broad Street toward the Railroad Stage during a parade that kicked-off the 2013 American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront.

The twelfth edition of the annual celebration of music, food, dancing and community had all the things that festival-goers have come to expect — a happy crowd ready to enjoy the late summer weather and array of cultural offerings. It also brought picture-perfect weather, with temperatures in the mid-70s, a pleasant breeze and one of the clearest, bluest skies Bangor has seen all summer.

“I wouldn’t miss it for anything,” said Molly Smith of Ellsworth. “This is my third year coming and it’s always just a ton of fun. And I always eat the mini doughnuts.”

The army of volunteers this year sported yellow t-shirts with the image of dancers from the Qi Shu Fang Peking Opera Company, one of the many featured performers at the festival. Two eager Bucket Brigade volunteers stood at the unofficial entryway to the festival at the corner of Broad and Washington streets, offering stickers and schedules in exchange for some money in the donation bucket.

“I’ve been doing this at least five, maybe six years,” said 11-year-old Bangor resident Nick Prins. “I’m in the Boy Scouts so I get my good service for my granddad by volunteering. I like it when there’s good weather, and there’s lots of good people.”

He was joined by fellow regular volunteer Jon McGovern of Bangor.

“I like doing it because it’s a lot of fun, and I like volunteering and meeting a lot of different people,” said McGovern. “I volunteer in the community as well, at the Bangor Veteran’s Home. I just like helping out.”

Festivities continue on Saturday starting with three noon performances, including gospel group the Legendary Singing Stars on the Railroad Stage, a contradance in the Dance Pavilion with Frank Ferrel & Friends, and music and stories from the Maine woods with Harold Jackson and Martin Morris.

The dance stage on Friday night and Saturday afternoon had a popular attraction in rockabilly band Sonny Burgess and the Legendary Pacers, featuring pianist Lance Lipinsky, who Burgess — an 82-year-old guitarist and contemporary of Elvis Presley — said was the reincarnation of Jerry Lee Lewis.

Charlotte Patterson and her husband Al, a retired couple from Albany, New York,l had spent the week in Maine and wrapped it up with a Saturday visit to the Festival. They were particularly fond of the rockabilly this year.

“We come to Maine a lot and we try to time it with the Folk Festival,” said Charlotte Patterson. “We love all the different kinds of music, and we’re really happy there music like this this year, because we remember when it was first around.”

For a full schedule of performances, workshops and other activities happening at the American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront, visit For folk festival coverage throughout the weekend, be sure to visit, check out BDN staffers Emily Burnham and Brian Feulner on Twitter at @rockblogsterbdn and @bdnvisuals, and on Instagram at and Also, upload your own photos of the festivities at and like BDN Visuals on Facebook.