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A Full Immersion Into Boothbay Peninsula at Boothbay Harbor Fest

Boothbay Harbor, Maine, is recognized for being one of the top destinations for vacationing and boating on the East Coast by media outlets such as Yachting and New England Boating Magazines. Ideal for your next getaway, the city is home to a host of maritime activities, beautiful scenery and great accommodations.


While this harbor city was built and flourished around the waterfront, the water is only the beginning when it comes to local activities. Whether you're on a boat tour that showcases the scenic coastline or you're on a kayaking adventure, Boothbay has your maritime fun covered. The parks, public areas, and gardens, including the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Barrett’s Park, Whale Park, and Boothbay Common, are great attractions to explore. The beauty of this coastal community led to the establishment of a vibrant and growing artisan culture. You’ll find multiple galleries, theaters and studios that showcase a wide variety of art mediums, live performances and demonstrations in the city. For the ultimate Boothbay Harbor experience, plan your trip during one of the fun local festivals such as The Boothbay Harbor Fest.


The Boothbay Harbor Fest attracts people from all over the state and region into the city. This 10-day celebration is unique in the fact that it is primarily a showcase of businesses and organizations from the state of Maine. Some of the big activities you’ll find here include live music, parties, wine tasting, a 5k run, workshops, and the list goes on. New to the festival this year will be a wellness expo featuring group yoga, informative demonstrations, and massages. With so much to offer, it is difficult to list all the things to do at the Boothbay Harbor Fest. Make the journey for yourself and find out why so many hold this one-of-a-kind event in such high regard. We got the chance to speak with Lori Reynolds, Producer of the festival, to talk all about this great annual event.


RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.

LR: Harborfest is a celebration that showcases the creativity and individuality of more than 100 Maine businesses and organizations. The 10-day celebration begins Labor Day Weekend and continues through Sunday, September 11th. The non-traditional festival format takes attendees on an adventure around the Boothbay Peninsula to experience things such as:

  • local food

  • live music

  • fine arts

  • a 5k run and half marathon

  • wellness events

  • photography workshops

  • an oyster fest

  • a film fest and a one of a kind fashion show featuring original designs made from the marine industry


RAL: Walk me through the activities people will find.

LR: A Taste of Local Flavor takes place from Friday (9/2) to Sunday (9/4) during the opening weekend. Festivities begin at 4:00 pm on Friday afternoon with a Kick-Off Party on the Rocktide Inn Sea Deck. 92 Moose DJ Matt James will entertain the crowd between sets of local reggae legends, the Dani Tribesman Band. Tastings will also begin on Friday and continue through Sunday afternoon.


Boothbay Opera House will host two headliner performances over the weekend: Piano Men, the music of Elton and Billy on Friday September 2nd and Bluegrass Grammy Award Winners, Steep Canyon Rangers on Sunday, September 4th.


A 5K Trail Run & Half Marathon will begin 8:00 am on Sunday (9/4), and both races have exciting changes for 2016. The 5K is now a trail run that will wind through the stunning landscape of Boothbay Region Land Trusts’ Penny Lake Preserve. The races benefit the Diabetes Prevention program, offered through a partnership with the Boothbay Region YMCA, the Central Lincoln County YMCA, and Lincoln Health. This DP program will serve all of Lincoln County and is planned to begin in the fall of 2016.


RAL: Do you have any events that are new this year?

LR: Yes, we have many new events! Let me walk you through a few of them. The Be Vibrant Wellness Fair will take place Sunday, September 4th, from 8:00 am-noon. The fair will conveniently be located next to the race Start and Finish Line on Sherman Field in Boothbay Harbor. Attendees will enjoy group yoga demos, mini massages, a breakfast bar, spa & wellness demos, and the opportunity to experience the plentiful World of Wellness in the Mid Coast Region.


We have photography workshops that are directed by award winning photographers Dave Dostie and Michael Leonard. These are ideal for attendees with any level of photography experience.


A Stroke of Art will start on Labor Day (9/5) and will run through the completion of the event (9/11). This Plein Air Invitational will welcome highly acclaimed artists from around the globe to paint the Boothbay peninsula, and their masterpieces will be featured at six days of show stopping art events. Daily art shows will be open to the public at the following locations: Boothbay Railway Village, Fisherman’s Wharf Inn, Boothbay Farmers Market, Harborfields Waterfront Cottages and Chowder House Restaurant.


WARE It’s At (9/2-9/9) takes place with local shops hosting events throughout the week including book signings, trunk shows, wine tastings, designer meet and greets, haunted history tours, a sidewalk sale, and a “Made in Maine” showcase.


Restaurant Theme Week (9/5 to 9/9) gives local restaurants an opportunity to step up their entertainment game, adding a side of fun to their delicious menus.


The BRCTV Film Fest will take place on Thursday (9/8) from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm. The first annual BRCTV Film Festival promises to deliver an evening of locally produced, world class talent.  The premiere of Walking Home will take guests on a wild adventure through the lens of BRCTV film producer, Ryan Leighton.


RAL: Are there any special deals that attendees can take advantage of?

LR: Yes, attendees can purchase a special passport for $15. This allows holders to experience the local flavor of a dozen unique establishments, offering an entertaining mix of signature food tastings, live music and a Cold River cocktail competition (21+ extra purchase required, select locations). A WCLZ Party on Saturday night will feature 207 Radio host Aimsel Ponti, East Coast Boogie, Billy and Rock ‘n Roll band, The Crown Vics, at Mine Oyster Restaurant.


Passport holders will also have the opportunity to vote for their favorite Taste, Music, Cocktail and Best of the Fest! The official tasting judges, Chef Ronaldo Linares and Yankee Chef Jim Bailey, will also travel to each location for a signature bite, and announce the winner on Monday, September 5th. Chef Ronaldo is known for his appearances on the Food Network Series, Chopped, and his #1 selling, newly released cookbook, Sabores De Cuba. Yankee Chef Jim Bailey also has a newly published cookbook, Refreshed, and both chefs will be offering book signings throughout the weekend.

For more information about the Boothbay Harborfest, please visit their website.