This year’s slate of First Friday events in downtown Bangor will feature a different theme each month inspired by summer in Maine and the businesses and artists downtown.
After a Cinco de Mayo-themed kickoff on May 5, the next event is set for June 2, with a theme of LGBTQ Pride Month. The headlining event will be a free screening of the film “Everything Everywhere All At Once,” at the Maine Savings Amphitheater starting at sundown. The film was the Best Picture winner at the 2023 Academy Awards.
First Fridays, a national movement of businesses and organizations in towns and cities across the country planning a monthly night of fun for all ages on the first Friday of the month, is a relatively new effort in Bangor. The Downtown Bangor Partnership began hosting First Fridays in 2021, after the Downtown Bangor Arts Collaborative stopped hosting its Saturday art walks in 2019. In addition to visual art in museums and galleries, live music, readings, performances and other interactive events are held in venues across downtown each month.
Elissa Young, marketing coordinator for the Downtown Bangor Partnership, the organization that runs First Fridays, said other cities that host First Fridays have had a lot of success with having a theme each month.
“It’s a way to help businesses and organizations and artists more easily conceptualize events they want to do,” she said. “We tried to keep the themes pretty open-ended, so people can participate at all levels.”
July’s theme in Bangor will be a Kickoff to Summer, with the headlining event being a cornhole tournament organized by Benjamin’s Pub, set for the evening of July 7. Pairs of competitors will take part in a bracketed cornhole tournament in Abbott Square, across from the Bangor Public Library.
In August, the theme is Maine Wild Blueberries to coincide with Maine Wild Blueberry Weekend Aug. 4-6. Young said the official events haven’t been settled yet, but they are considering things like a blueberry pie eating contest or blueberry dessert or cocktail competition among downtown bars and restaurants.
September’s theme is Back to School, and October’s will be ARTober, the city of Bangor’s month of the arts, with free movie nights at the Maine Savings Amphitheater again planned for both months.
Other cities in Maine with First Friday events include Waterville, Presque Isle and Rockland, with Portland’s First Friday among the largest in New England and a popular evening stop for both locals and tourists.
For information on downtown Bangor’s First Fridays, visit downtownbangor.com.