April 5, 2024

Dawnland Festival of Arts and Ideas

The Abbe Museum has announced its Dawnland Festival of Arts and Ideas (DFAI) premiere on July 12-14, 2024, at the College of the Atlantic (COA). This unique, multi-day event is an evolution of the popular Abbe Museum Indian Market (AMIM) and Native American Festival that featured invitation-only Native art markets and performances. The Dawnland Festival of Arts & Ideas includes those elements but will also spotlight conversations by Wabanaki and other Indigenous leaders on some of the biggest questions of our time, including climate, democracy, and food systems. Visit the Abbe Museum for details.

Maine Finalists for James Beard Awards

Maine has four finalists in the running for the 2024 James Beard Awards, chosen from a field of 10 Restaurant and Chef Awards semifinalists in the state. The finalists are Jake Stevens of Leeward for Best Chef: Northeast; Zu Bakery for Outstanding Bakery; Atsuko Fujimoto of Norimoto Bakery for Outstanding Pastry Chef or Baker; and Woodford Food & Beverage for Outstanding Hospitality. The James Beard Foundation presents the awards annually to recognize chefs, restaurateurs, authors, and journalists in the United States. The winners will be announced on June 10, 2024.

Maine Music Festivals

Get ready for a summer of music in Maine. Popular music is well represented, with events like the All Roads Music Festival in Belfast on May 17-18, a celebration of Indie Music featuring over 40 performing artists  each year, representing 150+ Maine musicians. The North Atlantic Blues Festival runs July 13-14 in Rockland, while the Trail’s End Festival in Millinocket runs from September 13-15th. Classical music fans await the Bowdoin International Music Festival each year. The 60th anniversary of the festival will run from June 24 to August 2 this year, offering dozens of concerts and bringing a host of performers to Maine. Each summer since 1964, the Festival has welcomed renowned artist instructors, performers, soloists, and gifted pre-professional classical musicians from around the world to Bowdoin College in Brunswick for six weeks of intensive chamber music study, collaboration, and performances. This year’s highlights include the Jupiter String Quartet, Ying Quartet, and Emanual Ax with the Festival Orchestra.

Maine Birding Events

Birders have a lot to choose from this spring. Feathers Over Freeport will be held April 27-28 with bird walks, birding fun and games, and other bird-focused activities.  The Spring Birding Festival from May 24-27 is held at Down East Maine’s Cobscook Bay area, which attracts hundreds of species, including Black-legged Kittiwake, Great Cormorant, Atlantic Puffin, Gray Jay, Spruce Grouse, 25 species of Warblers, boreal species, and the American Woodcock. The Acadia Birding Festival is set for May 30-June 2 and is organized with knowledgeable guides to help you explore Mount Desert Island and the national park. The Rangeley Birding Festival is scheduled June 7-9, with participants looking for Boreal Chickadees, loons, the rare Bicknell’s Thrush, and migrating and breeding warblers. Go to Visit Maine for more information.

Windjammer Season

Maine’s Windjammer Fleet is one of the most dynamic sights along the coast. This unique sailing adventure originated when aging cargo schooners were transformed into coastal cruisers that carried passengers on excursions. Today, some of these vessels are National Historic Landmarks. They could be retired cargo, fishing, or racing ships with traditional rigging. A few are newer vessels built to emulate older ships. They have bunks and cozy cabins, and the crew will invite you to help raise the sails, pull up the anchor, and even take the helm. A trip may last hours or a week, and specialty cruises are devoted to knitting, playing music, and studying photography. For a list of Windjammers and their schedules, visit the Maine Windjammer Association or Maine Windjammer Cruises. Most of their fleets are based out of Rockland or Camden. Several vessels offer day cruises along the coast, including Portland Schooner Co. in Portland, Schooner Surprise and Schooner Olad in Camden, and Downeast Windjammer Cruises in Bar Harbor. Go to Visit Maine for more information.

Hotel Ursa Opens

Maine-based Olympia Hospitality has announced the opening of Hotel Ursa, a new hotel on the University of Maine (UMaine) campus in Orono. Hotel Ursa has 95 guest rooms and is located at the center of the campus. It was developed through the historic rehabilitation of two original buildings on campus, Coburn Hall and Holmes Hall. They have been joined by a third building, Polaris Hall, a new building that offers contemporary guestrooms. The hotel also offers MajorMinor, a cafe and bar where members of the university community and guests can hang out and enjoy locally roasted coffees, baked goods, snacks, and evening beverages.

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