As travel writers, Linda and I attend a lot of events each year throughout the state, and our favorite is the Maine Harvest Festival in Bangor, scheduled this year for November 19 and 20 from 10 am to 4 pm at the Cross Insurance Center. The Center will be packed with booths, and I do enjoy eating my way through those, but there are also an amazing array of demonstrations and hands-on events.
You will not be surprised to hear that I love the cooking demonstrations, but there is a lot more, from scavenger hunts for children to quilting and weaving for adults. They’ll even have four Icelandic sheep, for wool and weaving demonstrations. To protect the Center’s carpet, the sheep will be in diapers!
You may have a hard time getting past the wineries and breweries and restaurants just inside the entrance. I do! And one of our favorites – Geaghan’s Pub – will be there again, so you won’t have to walk across the street to enjoy their wonderful lunches. Well, we’ll probably do that anyway!
The Page Farm and Home Museum, located at the University of Maine’s Orono campus, plays a bigger role here every year. The mission of the museum is to collect, document, preserve, interpret and disseminate knowledge of Maine history relating to farms and farming communities between 1865 and 1940, providing an educational and cultural experience for the public and a resource for researchers of this period.
“In partnering with The Maine Harvest Festival our goal is to not only celebrate Maine’s rural past but also to assure that future generations will be able to gain valuable and practical knowledge about Maine farms, communities and livelihoods,” reports the museum.
This year the museum and its partners will host demonstrations and other programming that will be interactive, diverse, and engaging for all audiences. In addition to an expanded Fiber Arts Studio, educational seminars and hands-on workshops, this year will see the inclusion of organizations such as The University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension, Page Farm and Home Museum’s Fiber Friends, The Maine Forest and Logging Museum, and The Maine Folklife Center.
Other new features to the festival this year include a potato picking contest and demonstrations by artist Gabriel Frey— a 12th generation Passamaquoddy basket maker. Regional chefs will be offering cooking demonstrations, which will be held on The Brownie’s Kitchen stage, named after Brownie Schrumpf—famous home economist, food educator, and author from Maine. And yes, you are very likely to find me there!
I’m especially looking forward to Deb Neuman’s stage interviews of four Maine authors: Don Carrigan, Jim Haskell, Kathy Eliscu and Susan Star. That’s bound to be entertaining. New this year is a contra dance. We’ll see if Linda drags me out onto the floor for that!
We’ll be staying that weekend at another favorite place, the Lucerne Inn, and enjoying dinner there on Friday night. One of our favorite chefs, Arturo Montez, is now the head chef there, so we know the meal will be spectacular.
Judy Perkins of Garden Ridge Farm does a superb job of managing this major statewide event. In just five years it has grown exponentially, and I guarantee, will keep you engaged for two full days.
You can check out the schedule of events, and get lots more information, at the Festival’s website: www.maineharvestfestival.com. See you there!
And if you’d like to read our travel column about last fall’s festival, you can access it here: http://www.centralmaine.com/2015/11/25/travelin-mainers-bangor/