Perhaps because our summers are so short, we make the most of every day. Weekends of July and August are filled with county fairs and festivals that celebrate the bounty of the land and sea. These events are the perfect way to witness Maine life, meet the townspeople, and soak up summer the way it used to be. Ride a rickety ferris wheel, share a shaved ice, peruse prize-winning squash, and browse works of art crafted by local folks. You will never forget the way the day was hot but the night began to cool, carrying exhausted, sticky children back to the car, feeling as if you were a part of something bigger than you, rooted in this place you’ve come to love. Summer fairs in Maine are instant nostalgia and magic memories in the making.
Every town in Maine has an ingredient. The earth bursts with strawberries, blueberries, fiddleheads, apples, and greens. Yarmouth has clams. You may not think that humble mollusk worthy of an entire 3 day affair. If so, you haven’t been to the Yarmouth Clam Festival. This perfect New England town is a pretty drive down Route 1 from MidCoast and worth every mile. The lawns are all a rolling, manicured green and the town pride is infectious. Compare the fried clams from various venders, listen to a barbershop quartet, and experience a simpler, more gracious era.
Maine Lobster Festival
Sleepy Rockland lights up every August for the lobster festival that draws crowds of thousands. The excitement builds as the rides are pieced together in the days leading up to the fair. The local volunteers descend on Harbor Park in droves and community spirit mingles with the scent of salt air. You cannot get lobster any fresher or a summer day more ideal than this. Do not miss sitting under the tents by the water, where everybody bellies up to a traditional lobster dinner. Watch the local children race across the water on lobster crates, and wave to the sea goddesses in their sparkling gowns. There is live music every night, carnival games, and a feeling of unadulterated fun at this world famous festival.
If you only go to one proper country fair this summer, make it this one. Inland Union is a sleepy village, and there is nowhere better for feeling like you’ve stepped into the pages of Charlotte’s Web or a movie musical about rural life. The building filled with prize-winning quilts, jams, flowers, and vegetables will honestly make you feel better about the world. You can see up close that folks are growing things, making things from scratch, from the heart, and it fills our lives with meaning. There are midway games and rides that make you scream, ice cream and harness racing. It is a real agricultural fair where you can slow down and experience Maine, the way life should be.
If you love the classic children’s picture book Lentil by Robert McCloskey, you’re going to want to live at The Moxie Festival in Lisbon. The parade is the thing at this little summer fair that celebrates Maine’s most iconic and polarizing beverage. Stand under the hot sun on an old fashioned Main Street and cheer for unicyclists, shriners, girl scouts, brass bands, and Moxie enthusiasts in their bright orange t-shirts. This is your opportunity to try the soda that’s been around as a health tonic since the 19th century. Sip it with a hot dog topped with mustard. Check out the small museum for all things Moxie and get yourself some merchandise to represent your adopted state’s unofficial drink.
The North Atlantic Blues Festival is everything a summer music festival should be: it’s hot and sweaty, set in a beautiful spot in Rockland’s Harbor Park, and filled with good time seeking like-minded future friends. It’s just a really fun time. Kick back for the 3 day concert that brings great music to Maine’s coolest little city. Take the time to explore Rockland, with its funky old art house theater, numerous art galleries, well-curated book store, and fabulous restaurants. It’s a big party for folks who love Maine and the blues.
Don’t miss any of our amazing festivals. Find a house to make your home base in Maine this year and discover your favorite summer event.