By Erinne Magee
Ready to get out and about this summer? Downtown Bangor is bustling and packed with activities, shopping, dining and more. Come explore!
Sidewalk Art Festival
After a two year hiatus, the Downtown Bangor Partnership is thrilled to bring back the always-popular Downtown Bangor Sidewalk Art Festival Saturday, July 9.
“One phrase I use often is that Downtown Bangor is the arts and culture capital of Central and Northern Maine,” said Betsy Lundy, Executive Director of Downtown Bangor Partnership.
The Sidewalk Art Festival will feature 50 local artists with their handcrafted wares, a stage for theater acts, concerts and dancing as well as a children’s space and a special Native Arts performance and vendor area.
The Burnurwurbskek Singers, a talented drumming group who has been representing Maine’s Wabanaki people for 25 years, will perform traditional northeast woodland songs.
Bangor Symphony Orchestra will be on hand with the much-anticipated children’s Instrumental Petting Zoo, where kids can try out a variety of different instruments used in real BSO performances.
Pasco Grove, who carved the bench seen in West Market Square, will be doing live chainsaw carving throughout the day.
University of Maine’s Zillman Art Museum on Harlow Street will be showcasing world class modern art, including five new galleries for guests to enjoy. Admission is free of charge.
In 2019, the festival saw an estimated 3,000 attendees over the course of the day and Lundy anticipates seeing even more faces for the return of this event.
This year, Lundy announces two exciting new partnerships with the Boys and Girls Club of Bangor as well as Kin!, a Native American Art Coop based in Old Town. Members of these organizations will be helping out with the children’s area as well as engaging festival-goers in hands-on activities.
Artist and food vendor applications are still being accepted and Downtown Bangor Partnership is also seeking sponsorship to help make this year’s Sidewalk Art Festival the best yet. For more information on these opportunities visit the Downtown Bangor Partnership website or Facebook page or call 922-2451.
The Return of First Fridays
Another summer mainstay is back in Bangor. First Fridays are currently underway with outdoor music and dance performances in front of the Bangor Public Library.
Each month, the line-up changes but Lundy ensures no matter the schedule, there is always something for everyone making the event a must for all ages.
Downtown restaurants and shops will offer monthly specials, activities and musical guests or art displays not typical to every-day operations.
For the most up-to-date First Friday schedule, visit downtownbangor.com.
Dining & Shopping
Diners will be happy to hear the al-fresco options that became so popular during the pandemic will be sticking around, with parklets making a return during the warmer months, Lundy said.
Downtown Bangor restaurants and shops will also be expanding their hours of operation, with many establishments resuming Monday openings.
The Penobscot Theater Company will be showing 9 to 5 the Musical from June 23 to July 31. With music and lyrics by Dolly Parton, this performance is sure to evoke laughter as three co-workers look to get revenge on their boss.
The Dramatic Academy also offers kids the opportunity to see what it’s like to be behind the scenes or even on stage with Penobscot Theater Company summer camps. Adults can also enroll in classes and workshops.
The Bangor Public Library has a full events calendar, including a free weekly drop in for “Play Your Cards Right” on Tuesdays, where the community is invited in to learn, teach or play their favorite card game.
Book clubs, technology tutoring, author talks and one-off workshops like photography are also offered throughout the summer.
Waterfront Concerts is back with a full line-up of music this summer at the Maine Savings Amphitheater.
On the calendar: Dierks Bentley, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Phish, Backstreet Boys, Keith Urban, Jimmy Buffet, Jason Aldean, Pitbull, Sting, Five Finger Death Punch, Incubus, REO Speedwagon & Styx.
A Splash of Color
Passers-by may notice artists hard at work on Franklin Street as Peter Walls brings a mural to life with the help of Annettee Dodd of the Rock & Art Shop as well as Bangor High School art students.
Lundy said Dodd was inspired to start the project after driving by the wall each day and hearing its call to become something more.
The mural is being funded by a matched grant from the Maine Arts Commission and The Rock & Art Shop (who raised the money through sales of Bangor- themed art and images).
The theme is Maine stream life. Dodd is painting a color blocked background to house Walls’ realistic painted panels.
Lundy said to be on the lookout for details on volunteering with the painting and other fundraising for future public art.
See this Section as it appeared in print here