May 30, 2020
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Midsummer at the museum

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Tobin Malone photo Summer interns Alyssa Baxter of Bath and a student at Elon University in North Carolina (left), and Ashton Fancy of Belfast and student at Smith College in Northhampton, Mass., model their costumes in preparation for Midsummer at the Museum on June 21-22 at Montpelier in Thomaston.

THOMASTON, Maine — Knox Museum will host Midsummer at the Museum, a new event celebrating the beginning of summer Friday and Saturday, June 21-22, on the grounds of Montpelier. Admission to all outdoor events is free and all are invited to attend.

Midsummer’s Eve will kick off with a pig roast, cooked by Larry Oakes of Automaster in Spruce Head, at 6:30 pm Friday, under the apple trees behind Montpelier. Bring a blanket or lawn chairs, and a side dish for sharing on the public buffet table. There will be games and activities available for children and families, including making traditional flower crowns to wear in celebration of the solstice, a paper bag luminary workshop and that old Scandinavian midsummer favorite, a wife-carrying race. Some seating will be provided.

Also on Friday evening Northport Music Theater will preview a program of country-folk-blues songs celebrating small-town America from its upcoming summer production, “The Spitfire Grill.”  The performance will take place in Montpelier’s Oval Room at 7:30 pm. Admission for the concert is $10, $8 museum members, $5 children. Seating is limited, reservations are recommended, and tickets are available by calling 354-8062.

At 8:30 p.m. on Friday the three-piece fiddle, flute and guitar band, The Milliners, will begin a 2-hour set on Montpelier’s north lawn. Shortly thereafter, when the sun sets on the longest day of the year, a bonfire built earlier in the day by Finnish Heritage House’s Ron Anderson, will be lit. A fireworks display designed by Thomaston’s Peter Lammert will cap off the evening at approximately 9:45 p.m.

The midsummer celebration will continue on Saturday, June 22, with a Midsummer’s Day traditional Finnish Juhannus picnic, featuring a Smorgasbord of Scandinavian proportions at noon under the big tent directly behind Montpelier. Members of Finnish Heritage House in South Thomaston will bring some of their traditional dishes, and Knox Museum volunteers will augment the offerings with additional dishes prepared according to recipes provided by the Finns. Music will be provided by accordionist Marianna Filippi. All are invited to attend and soak up some local Finnish culture. Admission is free, but plated dishes to share are always welcome.

These events will take place rain or shine with some seating and a tent provided. Montpelier is open for tours both days from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $10, $8 seniors, $4 children 5 to 13, free to children under 5 free, and a family rate of $20.

For information and to purchase tickets or reserve seating for “Songs from The Spitfire Grill,” call 207-354-8062 or e-mail