July 1, 2022

Maine’s Agricultural Fairs

common-ground-fairMaine’s agricultural fairs are the purest expression of the agricultural traditions and lifestyles.  There are 24 of them scattered across the state, and each one is a family-oriented outing. Hallmarks of these classic country fairs are team-pulling, 4H awards and the ever-popular pig scramble. The larger ones offer arcades and classic carnival rides. Sheep dog trials and tractor pulling can also be found. The fairs range from small, down home events like the Waterford World’s Fair  from July 15-17 and Acton Fair from August 25-28 to larger events like the Northern Maine Fair in Presque Isle from August 4-7 and the Skowhegan State Fair that runs August 11-20. The state’s biggest fairs are The Fryeburg Fair, which runs from October 2-9 and The Common Ground Country Fair, from September 23-25 in Unity, which got its start during the back-to-the-land movement and is affiliated with the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association.

Farmers Markets Statewide

farmers-market-maineJuly is when the first real summer bounty of produce reaches the dozens of farmers’ markets found statewide. In Downeast Maine, head to Eastport, Lubec and Machias. Further west along the coast, there are dozens of markets, including those in Bath, Boothbay, and Brunswick. Head inland and you’ll discover the Skowhegan Farmers’ Market at the Somerset Gristmill. In Western Maine, the Bridgton Farmers’ Market, the Bethel Farmers’ Market and the Kingfield Farmers’ Market offer the best of the season. There are now farmers’ markets every day of the week in Maine, from the Sunday markets in Lewiston and Scarborough to the Deer Isle Night Market on Tuesdays and the Castine Farmers’ Market on Thursdays. The Maine Federation of Farmers’ Markets has an interactive map to help you find the closest market.

Moose Watching

maine-moose-watchingMaine is one of only a few states in the U.S. that has a sizable moose population. With moose numbers estimated to be around 75,000, it’s the largest concentration of moose in the country next to Alaska. For many visitors, seeing one of these majestic creatures is a once-in-a-lifetime experience. A mature bull moose can easily exceed 1,000 pounds, with antlers spanning an average of six feet. Moose can be seen throughout the state, but their population is greatest in the Western Lakes and MountainsThe Kennebec ValleyThe Maine Highlands, and Aroostook County. The best times to spot them are at dusk and dawn from mid-May through July and again in the fall during their breeding season. Fall is also when the impressive antlers of the bull moose are fully formed. To increase your chances of seeing a moose in Maine, contact one of the outfitters that specialize in moose watching tours, also known as moose safaris. You’ll have the opportunity to safely and comfortably view these magnificent creatures, and other wildlife that might be encountered along the way, as you learn about moose habits and habitat from a knowledgeable guide. For more on moose watching, go to Visit Maine.

Maine Cheese Festival

maine-cheeseThe Maine Cheese Festival returns on September 11, 2022 in Pittsfield. Sponsored by The Maine Cheese Guild, it’s an invitation to discover the best handmade products that Maine has to offer and to meet the creators. There will be sessions at 9 am and 3 pm. Both will feature live music, vendor booths, food trucks and education sessions. Ticket must be purchased in advance. Visit The Maine Cheese Festival.

The Wanderer, Kennebunk

The Wanderer, a newly restored and reimagined 17-cottage compound, has just opened in Kennebunk. They’ve taken the old concept of coastal cottages and updated them for a younger visitor who wants more style and comfort.  Featuring a lounge pool, complimentary breakfast “treat bags” and classic cruiser bikes for guests to use, it’s also located near some of Maine’s best beaches, like Gooch’s, Parsons and Kennebunk. The Wanderer offers two styles of white clapboard cottages – studios and one bedrooms – and some of them are dog-friendly. The property is owned by Atlantic Hospitality, which also transformed The Claremont in Southwest Harbor and Salt Cottages in Bar Harbor. Visit The Wanderer for details.