Summertime means festival time in Lakes Region

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Towns across the region are gearing up for summer festivals, with two music events kicking things off in the coming week.

Point Sebago in Casco is once again jamming along with its Reggae Festival, starting Friday, June 8, exclusively for its lodging guests and then opening up to the general public on Saturday, June 9, from 2-10 p.m. General admission tickets are $30 online and $40 the day of the festival, along with $5 for parking.

The musical vibes will then travel up Route 302 for the Maine Blues Festival in Naples. The three-day event gets underway Friday, June 15. More than 40 Maine blues bands will play at a variety of local businesses, including the Freedom Cafe, Songo River Queen II, Point Sebago, Cap’n Jack’s at Naples Marina, Merced’s on Brandy Pond, Gary’s Old Towne Tavern, Village Green, the Umbrella Factory, Nancy’s Sports Pub and Cafe, and Rick’s Cafe.

Blues Festival tickets are $15 in advance for ages 13 and above, and $20 during the festival. The event is free for children ages 12 and under.

There will be no shortage of music and entertainment at other town festivals later this summer, starting with the Standish Summer Spectacular June 21-23.

Standish Parks and Recreation Director Jen Derice said the planning committee has been “trying to add a new, modern twist”  to some of the activities this year.  “Rockin’ Lakeside Launch,” the opening event on Thursday, June 21, at the Standish boat launch on Sebago Lake, will include food trucks, games, a live band and rock climbing. It will be held from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

This year’s theme is “3 villages, 1 community,” a nod to the town’s Steep Falls, Standish Corner and Sebago Lake areas. The theme aims “to recognize the rich history of all three villages,” Derice said. There will be events in each of them over the weekend.

Friday night, June 22, will feature a party at Standish Memorial Park from 6:30 to 10 p.m., which will include fireworks, food, games and a DJ. Saturday’s events kick off at 6:30 a.m. with a pancake breakfast at the Standish Congregational Church, followed by a community marketplace at the George E. Jack elementary School from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., a farmers and artisans market from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Steep Falls Library, a “what Standish means to me” parade starting on Randall Road at 10 a.m., and a barbecue dinner and concert at the Steep Falls Library from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m.

“Even though it’s three villages, it’s still one community,” Derice said.

Windham’s Summerfest will take place the same weekend with a full slate of events on June 23.

The annual parade will stretch from Lotts Drive along Route 202 and end at Windham High School, and will include new “best of ” parade awards. The Duane Clark Memorial Car Show will again be part of the festivities, along with live music, demonstrations and fireworks.

Summerfest co-chair Robin Mullins said “there’s quite a bit that’s new this year,”citing the return of helicopter rides, new partnerships with other organizations like the memorial 5K road race in honor of Toby Pennels, which is now being run on the day of Summerfest, and the Sebago Lakes Chamber of Commerce’s Feed the Need Initiate.

Mullins also said there will be a inflatable park in place of a kids carnival this year due to logistical challenges of setting up the carnival in time for the event.

“We worked very hard this year to pull it all together,” Mullins said.

The planning committee has instituted a new recurring Summerfest slogan of “bringing unity to the community,” and this year’s theme will be, “Windham – we’re a little bit country!”

Mullins hopes people will wear cowboy hats and get into the country theme, and said the committee could solicit public input on yearly themes moving forward.

The New Gloucester Historical Society is hosting its 43rd annual Strawberry Festival on June 28 from 6-8 p.m. at the town’s First Congregational Church Vestry.

Bridgton is celebrating it’s 250th anniversary with a July 7 event at the Bridgton Community Center. Bridgton Historical Society Executive Director Ned Allen said there will be an original poem and music performed at the event, along with the opening of a time capsule from 1968 and the filling of a new time capsule that will be opened 50 years from now. The historical society will also be hosting historical programs and lectures later in the summer as part of the anniversary.

The town of Sebago is celebrating the 40th year of its Sebago Days festival, with a three-day schedule July 19-21 that includes amusement rides, live music, art activities, and other events behind Sebago Elementary school at the junction of Routes 114 and 11.

Friday night will feature a car show and talent show, Saturday morning will have a fun walk and run, yard sale, antique engine show, grand parade celebrating the 40th anniversary, a tractor pull, and dancing. Saturday afternoon and evening will have live music, a barbecue in Veteran’s Park, and fireworks.

Casco Days, now in its 84th year, will once again happen the last weekend of July. Events start Thursday, July 26, and will include fireworks. Friday will include a chicken barbecue, music and children’s parade. Saturday starts with a pancake breakfast, the annual 4-mile road race, a grand parade, several suppers and a performance by Rick Charette and the Bubble Gum Band.

“Casco Days is always exciting,” said Town Manager Dave Morton, who said he will once again be working in the event’s beano tent with his daughter.

“I think that’s a job requirement,” he joked.

There will be a Fine Arts and Crafts Show on the Naples Causeway Aug. 4 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The second annual Gray Blueberry Festival will be Saturday, Aug. 11, from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. at the town’s Pennell Complex. The event will include live music, food trucks, arts and craft, local vendors, horse-drawn wagon rides, face painting, a kids fun run, and other activities.

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or mjunker@keepmecurrent.com. Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.

Windham Summerfest is Saturday, June 23.

Casco Days is held the last weekend in July.

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