30 Things to Do in August

DEE1405August-Opener
/ 01
First Friday Art Walk

The Portland Museum of Art is open free of charge, the Maine College of Art hosts special exhibits, and a host of galleries, studios, and alternative art venues open their doors for the city’s downtown, self-guided art crawl (don’t overlook the food trucks and street performers). 5 to 8 p.m. Congress St. (and elsewhere), Portland. liveworkportland.org/arts/walk

/ 02
TD Beach to Beacon 10K Road Race

There’s room for the world’s best runners alongside twice-a-week joggers at this 10K road race from Crescent Beach to Portland Head Light. 8 a.m. Free for spectators. Begins at Sprague Fields, Cape Elizabeth. 888-480-6940. beach2beacon.org

/ 03
Portland Sea Dogs vs. Trenton Thunder

In the last night of a four-game series against the Yankees’ farm team, watch for a few of these (possible) future Major League stars likely to be making appearances on the Double A squads this season.
Sea Dogs:
Mookie Betts
Age: 21
Position: 2B
Notes: Ranked as the seventh best prospect in the Red Sox organization by Baseball America.
Blake Swihart
Age: 22
Position: Catcher
Notes: Played for the Salem Red Sox in 2013, but is expected to make the jump to the Sea Dogs in 2014.
Henry Owens
Age: 21
Position: Pitcher
Notes: Threw 169 strikeouts last year, ranked second in the minors.
Thunder:
Mason Williams
Age: 22
Position: Center field
Notes: One of MLB.com’s Top 100 prospects for 2014, Williams’ granddad played in the Major Leagues and his dad played NFL football.
Gary Sanchez
Age: 22
Position: Catcher
Notes: Widely considered the best prospect in the Yankee organization.
August 1–3. $5–$13. Hadlock Field, Portland. portland.seadogs.milb.com

/ 04
Sweet Chariot Music Festival

One of Maine’s more innovative summer music festivals finds aquatic troubadours serenading boats during the day and folkies gathering for concerts and jam sessions at night. Through August 7. $20. Odd Fellows Hall, Swans Island. sweetchariotmusicfestival.com

/ 05
Salt Bay Chamberfest

Undoubtedly the best place to hear chamber music in a barn in Maine, the Chamberfest celebrates 20 years with two weeks of concerts exploring the theme of “Darkness and Light.” Through August 16. 7:30 p.m. Darrows Barn, 3 Round Top Rd., Damariscotta. 207-522-3749. saltbaychamberfest.org

/ 06
A Woman of No Importance

Oscar Wilde’s dark comedy pokes at the sordid underbelly of the aristocracy. Good for a laugh and Downton Abbey fans. July 17–August 23. 1 p.m. $30. The Theater at Monmouth, 796 Main St. 207-933-9999. theateratmonmouth.org

/ 07
KAHBANG Festival

Bangor’s omni-cool summer festival returns with national musical acts (past headliners include My Morning Jacket and Earl Sweatshirt), an indie film fest, a beer festival, family activities, and KAHBANG Creative, a hip ideas conference à la TED. Through August 10. Bangor. 207-942-9207. kahbang.com

/ 08
Skowhegan State Fair

The 196-year-old Skowhegan event checks all the boxes of a classic country fair: harness racing, demolition derbies, magic shows, livestock judging, a carnival midway, and a lot more. August 7–16. Madison Ave., Rte. 201 North, Skowhegan. 207-474-2947. skowheganstatefair.com

/ 09
Art in the Park

Ice cream, lobster rolls, and kids’ art activities complement 175 artists at this family-friendly fest. Live music, too. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free. Mill Creek Park, Broadway & Ocean St., South Portland. 207-767-7650. artintheparkmaine.com

/ 10
Cumberland Arts & Crafts Show

The state’s largest arts and crafts fair draws upwards of 250 artisans, eager to talk about their handmade work. Catch some demonstrations while surfing the booths. August 7–10. $4. Cumberland Fairgrounds, 169 Blanchard Rd. 207-621-2818. unitedmainecraftsmen.com

/ 11
Acadian Festival

Madawaska’s annual Acadian Festival celebrates French-descended northwoods culture with outdoor music — much of it French derived — and continues with carriage rides, watermelon-eating contests, a craft fair, and all the rest. This year’s festival coincides with the World Acadian Congress, a traveling international gathering held every five years. For a sense of its scope:
Estimated number of Mainers with Acadian ancestry: 20,000
Estimated percentage of French speakers in Maine’s St. John Valley: 85%
Approximate percentage of Mainers who speak French at home: 4%
Approximate percentage of Americans who speak French at home: 0.4%
Expected attendance at the World Acadian Congress in August, held in the St. John Valley and across the border in Quebec and New Brunswick: 50,000
Minimum number of Franco-American family reunions to be held that week: 120
Estimated economic impact of the Congress on the surrounding region: $55 million
Through August 21. Free. Madawaska. 207-728-6250. acadianfestival.com

/ 12
Outdoor Sporting Heritage Day

Stop by the clubhouse of the Rangeley Region Guides & Sportsmen’s Association for fly-casting contests, a game-meat feed, outdoor skills clinics, and kids’ activities. 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Old Skiway Rd., Oquossoc. rangeleyoutdoors.com

/ 13
Monty Python’s Spamalot

The Broadway adaptation of the cult classic (and still hysterical) film Monty Python and the Holy Grail picked up a handful of Tonys and elicits all the laughs (and groans) of the film version. July 30–August 16. 8 p.m. $25. Hackmatack Playhouse, 538 School St., Rte. 9, Berwick. 207-698-1807. hackmatack.org

/ 14
Portland Chamber Music Festival

Composer and Pulitzer finalist Harold Meltzer is on hand to premiere a piece specifically written for PCMF oboist Peggy Pearson on opening night of the popular five-performance series. Through August 23. 8 p.m. $30. Abromson Community Education Center, University of Southern Maine, Portland Campus, 88 Bedford St. 800-320-0257. pcmf.org

/ 15
Great Falls Balloon Festival

You don’t have to take to the air as a passenger to appreciate the carnival vibe, live music, and dramatic launches of a dozen-plus colorful hot air balloons — but it doesn’t hurt. Through August 17. Free, but balloon rides start at $200. Lewiston-Auburn. greatfallsballoonfestival.org

/ 16
Bay Chamber Concerts Summer Festival

What happens when you pack five midsummer days with nearly 20 musical performances that run the gamut from classics to premieres to film scores to experimental work? “To me, a festival is about that type of thing,” says Bay Chamber Concerts artistic director Manuel Bagorro, “where you’re running from event to event. You kind of lose touch with reality, and it’s an opportunity to really submerge yourself in different kinds of music experiences.” Bay Chamber’s frenetic festival runs August 13–17, arguably peaking on the evening of the 16th, when concertgoers can submerge themselves in not one, but two world premieres. Former Kronos Quartet cellist Jeffrey Zeigler is among the performers for a commissioned piece based on E.B. White’s poem “The Spider’s Web (A Natural History),” followed by a premiere for violin and cello composed by the hugely influential Philip Glass.
6 p.m. $25. Rockport Opera House, 6 Central St., 207-236-2823. baychamberconcerts.org

/ 16
Ram Island Art Show

Two Maine artists, Mark Hagen and Mark Haltof, accomplished artists and friends have lived, worked and been inspired by the natural beauty of Maine particularly Ram Island Farm and the surrounding areas. The works exhibited in this show reflect their unique vision of the Maine coast and its treasures as well as works of the imagination. Ram Island Farm. August 16-23. Monday-Friday, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.

/ 17
Machias Wild Blueberry Festival

Come to gorge on the tiny, delicious fruit that’s the pride of Down East Maine — perhaps in the pie-eating contest? — then stick around for a great flea market and tours of working blueberry farms. Don’t wear white. August 15–17. Free. Centre Street Congregational Church, 9 Center St., Machias. 207-255-6665. machiasblueberry.com

/ 18
Union Fair

Fans of destruction shouldn’t miss the Union Fair’s no-holds-barred demolition derby. For a more genteel crowd, there are fireworks, 4-H shows, and the coronation of the year’s Wild Blueberry Queen. August 16–23. $8–$12. Union Fairgrounds, off Route 17. 207-785-3281. unionfair.org

/ 19
Footloose

Kick off your Sunday shoes (although perhaps not in the theater, out of consideration for your fellow patrons). August 6–23. 7:30 p.m. $45–$63. Pickard Theater at Bowdoin College, 22 Elm St., Brunswick. 207-725-8769. msmt.org

/ 20
Arcade Fire

Bangor welcomes arguably the hottest band in rock, with four hugely successful records, heaps of critical acclaim, an Album of the Year Grammy, and a recent Oscar nomination. Lush, smart chamber pop. Darling’s Waterfront Pavilion, 1 Railroad St., Bangor. 800-745-3000. waterfrontconcerts.com

/ 21
Blistered Fingers Family Bluegrass Music Festival

Bluegrass bands — and fans — from all over the country converge in Litchfield for a long weekend of pickin’ and grinnin’. Jam sessions and gospel sing-a-longs are fan favorites. August 20–23. $15–$80. Litchfield Fairgrounds, 30 Plains Rd. 207-873-6539. blisteredfingers.com

/ 22
American Folk Festival

Four stages of music and dance present a mosaic of folkways and traditions. Through August 24. $10 suggested donation. Bangor. 207-992-2630. americanfolkfestival.com

/ 23
Picnic Music + Arts Festival

Local rock bands score this indie summer crafts fest, a showcase of Maine’s design savvy and DIY ethic. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Free. Lincoln Park, Franklin Arterial & Congress St. Portland. picnicportland.com

/ 24
Windsor Fair

Crowds gather for woodsmen contests of log rolling, axe throwing, and tree felling, and the children’s pig scramble is worth the price of admission alone. Through September 1. $7–$9. Route 32. 207-549-5249. windsorfair.com

/ 25
Bernard Langlais

He isn’t a household name, but Maine native Bernard Langlais’s wooden sculptures and reliefs — often of animals — earned him a place in the firmament of mid-century American abstract and figurative artists. His widow bequeathed a massive collection of his work to Colby College in 2010, and the museum opens a retrospective show this summer. Curator Hannah Blunt gave us a preview.
How do you introduce Langlais to an audience that may not know his work?
He’s most well known for the large, wooden monumental pieces he built around his property in Cushing [which Colby also inherited], but our goal is to present a collection that tells the whole story of his career, beginning with his work as a painter, doing these rich and vibrant modernist landscapes.
What are some of the exhibit’s highlights?
The first works he did in wood were these mosaic-like wall constructions that really caught the attention of the art world in the late 1950s and early 1960s. It’s one of the real strengths of Colby’s collection, these beautiful, large-scale, abstract pieces.
With so many large pieces and outdoor animal sculptures, much of Langlais’s work seems to be site-specific.
We’ll sort of be attempting to evoke that built-environment concept, using the late animal sculptures and reliefs from our collection. So it’ll be kind of an unusual instillation in that way, inspired by Langlais’s Cushing property and barns.
July 19–January 4. Free. Colby Museum of Art, 5600 Mayflower Hill Dr., Waterville. 207-859-5600. colby.edu/academics_cs/museum

/ 26
The Marvelous Wonderettes

The plot takes a backseat to feel-good tunes from the 1950s and ’60s. This one clicks with anyone who’s ever owned a poodle skirt — or wished they had. August 19–30. 8 p.m. $40. Arundel Barn Playhouse, 53 Old Post Rd. 207-985-5552. arundelbarnplayhouse.com

/ 27
From Mount Lebanon to the World: The Shakers

Who are the Shakers? An exhibition of Shaker-made objects helps reveal the social and ideological foundations of this enigmatic sect, with a special emphasis on the last active Shaker community at Maine’s Sabbathday Lake. June 14–January 4. $12. 16 Museum St., Rockland. 207-596-6457. farnsworthmuseum.org

/ 28
Blue Hill Fair

Produce and livestock, sheepdog and draft animal demonstrations, plenty of live music and fried food — Blue Hill’s fair is a summer classic. Through September 1. $3–$8. Rte. 172. 207-374-3702. bluehillfair.com

/ 29
Camden Windjammer Festival

Grand schooners, yachts, and historic sailing ships crowd Camden Harbor. Their coordinated arrival is the main event, and Harbor Park fills up at night for the crew and passenger talent show. Through August 31. Camden. camdenwindjammerfestival.org

/ 30
Castlebay in Concert: Season’s End at Colonial Pemaquid

A Celtic music duo plays in front of an old stone fort overlooking the ocean — a romantic end to summer at the Colonial Pemaquid State Historic Site. 1 and 3 p.m. $2 day use fee. New Harbor. 207-677-2423. friendsofcolonialpemaquid.org

/ 31
Portland Paddle Acoustic Paddle Series

On Sundays, paddle a kayak with a Maine guide out to Fort Gorges in Casco Bay, then settle in for a picnic dinner and an acoustic performance by a rotating slate of local acts. This is summer dating gold, people. $55. East End Beach, Portland. 2:30 to 6:30 p.m. 207-370-9730. portlandpaddle.net

Laura Serino is the Digital Editor of Down East Magazine.

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