Get retro at a sock hop, watch hot air balloons and chow down at an Italian bazaar
L.L.Bean Summer Concerts
Discovery Park, Freeport
L.L.Bean’s free summer concert series is the best bargain in Freeport. Just set up your lawn chair at Discovery Park and see Passenger (pop/folk) on Aug. 4 and The Fray (pop rock) on Sept. 1. Concerts start at 7:30 p.m. (llbean.com)
Friday through Sunday, Aug. 10–12
St. Peter’s Church, 72 Federal St., Portland
St. Peter’s Church in Portland celebrates Italian heritage with this annual fundraiser known for homestyle dinners and pastries in a festive street-party atmosphere. Watch the greased pole competition, dance to The Carmine Terracciano Band and play games of chance. No admission fee. Festival is open Friday and Saturday 5-9 p.m. and Sunday 4–8 p.m. (portlandcatholic.org/bazaar)
Grillin’ and Thrillin’ Maine State BBQ Festival
Sunday, Aug. 12, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Aquaboggan Waterpark, 980 Portland Road, Saco
Buy an Aquaboggan day pass and not only enjoy the wave pool, water slides and all the other fun stuff, but sample some of the state’s best barbecue and, from 2–4 p.m., vote on the best pulled pork. Fun for the whole family. (oob365.com)
Great Falls Balloon Festival
Friday through Sunday, Aug. 17–19
Simard-Payne Memorial Park, 30 Oxford St., Lewiston
The stars of this annual festival are hot air balloons. Make a reservation in advance for a bird’s-eye view of Lewiston/Auburn or show up at dawn to see the balloon launch. A midway, rides, food and drink vendors and entertainment round out a whole weekend of fun with a “Rock Around the Park” theme. (greatfallsballoonfestival.org)
Maine Highland Games & Scottish Festival
Saturday, Aug. 18, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Topsham Fairgrounds, 54 Elm Street, Topsham
You don’t have to be Scottish to enjoy a day of Scottish athletics, music, dancing, entertainment, food, art and shopping. Entertainment includes Celtic band Seven Nations, Irish band The Ivy Leaf, harper Sue Richards and one-man show Colin Grant-Adams. (Adult admission is $20; mainehighlandgames.org)
Blues Festival at the Ballpark
Saturday, Aug. 25, 1–6 p.m.
The Ballpark at Old Orchard Beach, 14 E. Emerson Cummings Blvd.
Enjoy an afternoon of blues at the ballpark, featuring Roomful of Blues, Continental Shakedown, Blues Prophets and Beyond Reason. Bring lawn chairs (but not pets or coolers). Free for kids 12 and under when accompanied by an adult). (Tickets are $25 at the gate, $20 in advance online; brownpapertickets.com/eevent/3445874)
Sunset Wine Sails
Casco Bay, from Maine State Pier, Portland
Imagine being on a 74-foot sailboat, Frances, getting a wine education from sommelier Erica Archer while sailing through scenic Casco Bay. Specific dates are devoted to a variety of wine or wines from a specific part of the world. Reservations are $79 per person in advance. (For available dates (through Sept. 15) and other details: winewiseevents.com)
Hope-JG Golf Scramble
Monday, Aug. 27, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Falmouth Country Club, 1 Congressional Dr., Falmouth
This day of golf, food, prizes and side contests is a fundraiser for the Hope-JG Foundation, a nonprofit founded by ALS patient John Gregoire of Windham to support families affected by ALS. Registration is $125 for a single player, $500 for a foursome. (hope-jg.org)
Maine Preservation Gala
Friday, Sept. 7, 5:30–9:30 p.m.
The Portland Masonic, 415 Congress St., Portland
Historic preservation enthusiasts will love this evening in the Armory at The Portland Masonic, a beautifully restored treasure hidden in a downtown office space. The theme of this Maine Preservation annual gala is “This Place Matters,” celebrating the importance of historic preservation throughout Maine. Enjoy gourmet nibbles, wine and beer, desserts and live and silent auctions. Tickets are $100. Patron-level tickets include behind-the-scene tours. (mainepreservation.org)
Acadia Night Sky Festival
Acadia National Park
Experience and celebrate the starlit skies of Downeast Maine—some of the last pristine, star-filled night skies in the Eastern United States. This 10th annual festival has a full schedule of events, including workshops, internationally recognized speakers, hands-on experiences and a Cadillac Mountain Star Party. (acadianightskyfestival.com)
Maine Open Lighthouse Day
If you’re itching to climb up a lighthouse, this is your opportunity! A couple dozen historic lighthouses are open to the public during this annual one-day event, sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard, the Maine Office of Tourism and the American Lighthouse Foundation. Most participating lighthouses are open 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. (For Portland Head Light, a ticket is required; tickets will go to the first 280 in line. Visitors must be at least 48 inches tall and able to handle 85+ steps unassisted to climb the tower.) (lighthousefoundation.org)
Retro Fest and Sock Hop
Saturday, Sept. 8, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Brick Store Museum, 117 Main St. and Waterhouse Center at 1 Summer St., Kennebunk
Spend the afternoon at the Brick Store Museum, exploring all things retro from the 1940s through 1960s. Then head down to the Waterhouse Center for a free Retro Sock Hop. A swing dance teacher will give a primer on the steps, a live big band will play classics from the 1940s and ’50s, and vintage costumes are encouraged. (Ladies, look for retro hair and makeup tutorials at the Museum.) (brickstoremuseum.org)