Boothbay Harbor Fest: What a celebration of our little corner of the world it is, and has been since 2012. This year’s eighth annual begins Friday, Aug. 30 and runs through Sunday, Sept. 8. And all the favorite events are back: A Taste Of Local Flavor, the half marathon and 5k race, the Fishin For Fashion Show, the East Side Vibe, Red Cloak’s Haunted History Tours, and music, music, music!
“Really what I love most about the festival is the way businesses all work together to make it fun. This year there are really 100 Maine businesses involved,” said creator/coordinator Lori Reynolds.
No, we can’t list them all here, but pick up one of the eight-page festival guides around town and you’ll see for yourself.
New this year for antique car fans: Drive Maine of Gardiner is bringing three of its four classic car rentals: a 1964 London Austin FX4 black cab, “Branson”; a matte black 1969 MG Midget, “Hamilton”; and a cream 1971 MG, “Ellie B.” And, for all the lovers of all things vintage, Miss Marigold’s Vintage pop-up shop in her 1973 Shasta 1400 camper will be at the East Side Vibe Sept. 7 and 8. You’ll find all manner of items for your home and retro clothing under her awning.
The festival kicks off with a party (of course), Friday, Aug. 30 – this year at TAKA Mediterranean Bar & Grille on Pier 1 in the Harbor from 4 to 7 p.m. Giveaways, music by Ben Betts, a one-man band playing sax, guitar and steel drums; 92 Moose radio’s Matt James, and Matt Damon’s Beverage Mart out of Augusta. TAKA is a new tasting venue during A Taste of Local Flavor that begins that night, too, at Pier 1 Pizza and Mine Oyster, both on Pier 1.
A Taste of Local Flavor continues Saturday, Aug. 31 and Sunday, Sept. 1. This year, 16 local restaurants are competing for Best Bite, Best Cocktail and Best Venue. Last year’s winners, voted on by participants: Fisherman’s Wharf Chef Stephen Richards, Best Bite; Best Cocktail, a Black and Tan concocted at Harborside Tavern; and Best Venue, The Thistle Inn.
Taste of Local Flavor Passports are the way to go. For $20 you can sample all 16 Best Bite offerings over the three days; keep in mind, the passport does not cover the fifth annual cocktail competition – you’ll have to buy those! But, there are combo deals! If you buy a passport and a ticket for the East Side Vibe at Ocean Point Marina, the passport is $15 and the East Side Vibe tickets are $10 (kids under 12 are admitted to the ESV free). The passport will be $15 if you also buy a ticket to the Fishin For Fashion Show (Sept. 7) – the fashion show tickets are $30 – and if you buy that ticket for the fab fashion show, admission to both days of the ESV is included! Combo ticket purchases are the way to go. You can buy them at the Farmer’s Market this Thursday, Aug. 29 at the Harbor Fest booth; at Caper’s Deli, Fisherman’s Wharf (on Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. during the Best Bite/Best Cocktail competition, there at the Festival Booth – not the check-in desk), Boothbay Harbor Region Chamber of Commerce (til 5 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 30); on Sunday, Sept. 1 at Kaler’s Restaurant at the booth near the entrance, and at www.boothbayharborfest.com until Friday, Aug. 30 at noon.
For a complete list of tasting venues, see page 3 of this Boothbay Harbor Fest section and on the festival website! This event has sold out every year … don’t wait too long to get your tickets!
Vote for your favorites on the passport and be sure to cast your ballot in the special box at Calypso on Commercial Street by Monday, Sept. 9 or on the festival website.
Live music will be everywhere with a variety of musical genres to make everyone feel like dancing – from blues to disco; folk to reggae, Americana and country; to country rock and good old rock ’n roll.
The East Side Vibe over the last weekend of the Festival has quite the musical lineup starting with the headliner: Nashville singer/songwriter and recording artist Jamie Lee Thurston; The Reconstructed, Papa Tim & the Desperate Man’s Blues Explosion (blues, rock, gospel and soul), and Boothbay’s favorite reggae band, The Dani Tribesmen. And, remember, tickets to the ESV are just $10 for the whole weekend!
And, what would the East Side Vibe be without the Fishin For Fashion Show? We just don’t want to go there, do we? More on this event in the Sept. 5 edition of the Boothbay Register, but for now … doors open on the much anticipated show that benefits Project Graduation, at 4:15 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 7 for VIP ticket holders and 4:45 for general admission. There are 40 models in this year’s show; 15 or so designers, and 14 local shops.
“The Vibe” vendors, many of them new, will tempt you with jewelry, antiques, art, nautical items, and food – from lobster (naturally) and pizza to sticky buns and the farm-raised foods found at Gracie’s Food Truck from St. Albans. And for the 21 and over set, the Boat Bar will return.
The Kid Zone features crafts. Face painting, games, photo opps with the Gingerbread Man … and more hosted by the Friends of the Opera House. A second nonprofit, the Boothbay Harbor Waterfront Park group, has something in the works – but details were not available at press time.
Parking for the East Side Vibe: Follow the signage. Parking is available at Bigelow Labs off Route 96 at 60 Bigelow Drive. Just hop on the shuttle that will be making continuous loops during the hours of the Vibe.
Find out why Yankee Magazine selected Boothbay Harbor Fest as a top fall festival in 2018 and why MaineToday included it in its Top 10 things to do in Maine. Aimsel Ponti, WCLZ Host of Music from 207, Portland said, “Harbor Fest is a sensational, well-run immersion into the fabulous local culture, cuisine and music of Boothbay Harbor.”
See the full schedule of events in this Festival section of the paper and on the Boothbay Harbor Fest website.