Festival-goers and organizers alike could not possibly have asked for a nicer weekend for the American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront — an average daytime high of 80, a slight breeze and abundant sunshine, followed by cool and crisp evenings. The thousands of people who eagerly listened, danced and ate their way through the three days of the event certainly lucked out.

“It was such a bummer last year, when Irene came through and Sunday was canceled,” said Mary Thompson of Bangor. “I think we made up for it this year.”

Festival-goers could be seen devouring ice cream cones, sporting “I Kicked In” stickers and checking the schedule on the new AFF iPhone and Android apps. As of Sunday afternoon, AFF executive director Heather McCarthy was very pleased with both the turnout and the overall vibe of the 2012 festival. There’s no word yet on an official count as far as attendance goes — nor as to what the final haul for the bucket brigade is — but McCarthy seemed satisfied with this 11th annual AFF.

“The weather cooperated, the audience is great, and the artists have made lots of new fans from near and far,” said McCarthy. “Now we’re looking forward to the 2013 festival.”

As is true with each successive festival, there are too many highlights to count. For some, it was the sweet-voiced bluegrass of Kentucky native Dale Ann Bradley, who delighted audiences with her storytelling, her original songs and even a bluegrass cover of U2’s “I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For.” For others, it was the Croatian ensemble Otrov, who played the infectious and beautiful music of the Balkans. For the large crowd assembled at the Dance Pavilion on Saturday night, it was the one-two punch of blues phenom Marquise Knox, followed by the fiery-hot sounds of salsa Band La Excelencia.

And for nearly everyone, the countless treats offered up by food vendors kept bellies full and folks fueled for dancing and singing — from the legendary gyros and souvlaki served by St. George’s Greek Orthodox Church to crabmeat rolls and fresh-cut french fries from Fresh Catch.

Up next on the Bangor Waterfront are three days of performances as part of the Waterfront Concert Series, including Big Time Rush and Cody Simpson on Aug. 31, Keith Urban on Sept. 1 and Jason Aldean on Sept. 2.

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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.