By Trent Jonas
Folks from Maine know just how gorgeous their state is. A rugged Atlantic coastline, deep Northwoods forests, mountains, rivers and streams make the state a paradise for outdoors lovers. And an outdoor festival is a great way to celebrate all that the state has to offer. If you need some help getting started, take a look at our favorite outdoor festivals in Maine.
When in Maine, you eat the lobster. And you may as well have a lot of fun while you’re doing so. You can find the best combination of fun and fresh lobster at the Maine Lobster Festival in Rockland. In addition to a parade, live entertainment and the obvious food and drink, you can participate in a seafood cooking contest, a road race or fun run and walk, or even The Great International Lobster Crate Race. Festival sponsors include BDN Maine, Wyman’s of Maine and Beth’s Farm Market .
Harbor Fest in Wells, Maine is an annual event that celebrates the village’s maritime heritage. The day is chock-full of family-friendly outdoor activities, including a kids’ fishing tournament, kayak races, a motorcycle meet and the “world championship” lobster trap toss. Gear vendors and equipment demos will also be on hand. Sponsors for this year’s event include Wells Chamber of Commerce and Wells Rotary Club.
Presque Isle's Nordic Trail Festival is an annual summer event hosted by the Nordic Heritage Sport Club. Come on out and enjoy a hike, a run or the trails' awesome single track. In addition, you'll find music, games for adults and kids, alike, contests, food and racing. Bike Board & Ski, MMG Insurance and Northern Physical Therapy all help to make the festival possible.
Cyclists wait all year long for the Bicycle Coalition of Maine's annual Maine Lobster Ride. The festival includes four road distance options that range from 15 miles—on a family-friendly route—to 100 miles. Skills clinics and mountain bike rides will also take place. L.L. Bean and Maine Beer Company are some of the festival’s sponsors this year.
OakFest is Oakland's annual, three-day summer festival. In addition to food, live music, crafts and parades, events for all ages are held over the course of the festival. The centerpiece event is the Paddle, Pedal, Pound the Pavement Triathlon, which is a kayaking-biking-running event that kicks off on the last day of the festival. Hammond Lumber Company, Camden National Bank and Mathieu's Cycle & Fitness Store are among the sponsors.
Each July, folks gather on the shores of Moosehead Lake to celebrate the heritage of the area's Wabanaki people and naturalist Henry David Thoreau's three journeys into the Maines woods—and the trail that has been named for them. The Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail Festival is three days of events, field trips, workshops and food. The cottages at Wilsons on Moosehead Lake are great place to stay if you are looking for a cozy place to call your own for the duration of the festival.
Astronomy buffs, stargazers and dreamers all converge on Acadia National Park for the annual Acadia Night Sky Festival. This part of Downeast Main boasts the widest expanse of "naturally dark sky east of the Mississippi." Attendees will enjoy lectures, workshops, hands-on experiences and all of the visible universe. Sponsors include Celestron and Abbe Museum.
A semiannual (spring and fall) three-day event at Sunday River Resort, Maine Brew Fest is a fantastic way to combine beer and fun. Along with several beer-themed events, including tastings and a keg-and-egg breakfast, the Mountain Park will be open for chairlift rides, ziplining, zipline tours, a bungee trampoline and rock climbing. Plan on devouring some of the best local beers including Allagash, Saco River Brewing, Funky Bow Brewing, and many more. Bring your bike and hit the resort's lift-served single track or hit the trails on foot.
Penobscot River Fest is a three-day, family-friendly event that includes members of communities throughout the Katahdin Region. Events include a talent show, an old-time logging competition, live music, an amateur film festival that is open to local submissions, and a lazy river float.
It's September and north-bound through- and section hikers are finishing their Appalachian Trail journeys at nearby Mt. Katahdin. So, every year, the town of Millinocket throws the Trails End Festival to celebrate. It's three days of music, food, a pub crawl, a rubber duck race (and post-race "rescue" paddle), hay bale toss, kids' games and organized hikes. Participants can also take part in trail work on the AT. Major sponsors include Baxter Brewing Co., L.L. Bean and Appalachian Trail Lodge.