Great Falls Balloon Festival
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70+ Annual Festivals & Events in Maine You Should Explore This Year

Are you looking for unique activities to do throughout the year? Some of the best festivals & events in Maine offer activities and things to do that you can’t experience anywhere else. And, all of them offer a fun time with family and friends.

June Events in Maine

Acadia Birding Festival | Mount Desert Island

In what might be the longest list of festival options in this entire article, the Acadia Birding Festival spreads its wings across the island and into the surrounding seascape. All levels of birding interest are welcome, with some of the most knowledgeable birding experts in New England leading the way. 

More than 160 birds might spotted at sea, on the shore, or in the surrounding forest. Yes, even puffins.

Rhubarb Festival | Perry (Near Eastport)

If the thought of rhubarb pie makes you crinkle your nose, this is a festival just for you. The founder of the Rhubarb Festival never understood why pies were left behind at church suppers. This festival in Perry started in 2022 and now happens on the first Saturday of June at Kendall Farm. Be sure to try the rhubarb ice cream.

Wiscasset Wormfest | Wiscasset

As dubbed by National Geographic 20 years ago, Wiscasset holds a unique claim to fame as the “worm capital of the world,” boasting a rich tradition of worm digging that stretches back generations. Wormfest is a community celebration of this quirky yet integral part of our town’s history.

La Kermesse Festival | Biddeford

Bonjour! Get a taste of French Canadian culture without crossing the border. The La Kermesse Festival celebrates the French and French Canadian history of Maine. The late June event takes over a weekend of food, live music, games, a parade, and fireworks.

Donut Festival | Rockport

Nobody tells a tall tale better than a sea captain, but regardless of how it happened, Captain Hanson Gregory of Rockport invented donuts with a hole in the middle. You can hear all the versions of the story at the Donut Festival in Rockport, which kicks off summer and celebrates National Donut Day on the First Friday in June.   

Midsommar Festival | New Sweden

You might be in New Sweden but this traditional festival is as old as Sweden events get. The town was settled in 1871 by a group of Swedes and through generations, all the old world traditions come alive for summer solstice. Grab a ring of flowers for your head and get ready to watch the dance around the Maypole. Feast on fabulous Swedish food while enjoying the summer beauty of Aroostook County.

Margaretta Festival | Machias

No, not margaritas – Margaretta! The Margaretta Festival celebrates the Downeast town’s history and heritage, particularly its role in the American Revolutionary War. The festival commemorates the Battle of the Margaretta in 1775 which is considered the first naval battle of the American Revolution. 

Activities during the festival typically include historical reenactments, boat races, parades, craft fairs, live music, and food vendors. It’s a living history museum and festival wrapped into one.

Whoopie Pie Festival | Dover-Foxcroft

The Maine State Treat takes center stage for this weekend event, celebrating the cream-filled cake delights known as whoopie pies. Touted as the “Sweetest Day in Maine,” you can sample classic and creative concoctions of whoopie pie flavors. In 2023, the crew broke the Guinness World Record for the longest line of whoopie pies. 

Black Fly Festival | Milo

Biting black flies are the bane of any hiker’s existence in the North Maine Woods, yet they are so much a part of Maine rhetoric, why not celebrate them? This festival in Milo sits at the edge of the 100 Mile Wilderness and features food, drinks, live music, and games. Let’s just hope the moose flies and mosquitoes don’t get jealous. 

Trek Across Maine

A nearly 170-mile cycling event across the Midcoast to benefit the American Lung Association. Cyclists travel from Thomas Point Beach and back, going through Freeport, Lewiston, and Standish. This ride is fully supported by volunteers and trained medical staff, including support vehicles and rest stops along the way.

Windjammer Days | Boothbay Harbor

For two fun-filled June days, fully rigged windjammers sail into Boothbay Harbor for the annual Windjammer Days. Events include an antique boat parade, shipyard tours, Harbor Aglow night parade, gathering of the fleet, and live music. Don’t miss the Cod Fish Race, as contestants carry two slimy fish through the race route. The events end with a fireworks extravaganza over Boothbay Harbor.

South Berwick Strawberry Festival | South Berwick

This great Maine tradition in late June features musical performances, children’s games, crafts, as well as strawberry desserts, jams, and delights. One quick tip – they are always looking for volunteers, and that might help you get one of the first tasty treats of the day! 

Windjammer Days-Boothbay Harbor
Windjammer Days | photo via 4travel4nature4life

Fishin’ for Fashion Show | Boothbay Harbor

Forget Gucci and go for gills at the funkiest fashion show EVER! This show is sea-inspired and original, from the historic working waterfront venue to the lobster trap runway that carries dozens of models the length of an enormous boat shed.

The Boothbay Harbor fashion show celebrates local merchants, talented designers, and Mainers who dedicate their lives to preserving our working waterfront.

Ploye Festival | Fort Kent

At the top of Aroostook County, Fort Kent leans on the popularity of the International Muskie Derby to host a Ploye Festival, celebrating an Acadian staple. What’s a ploye? Somewhere between a pancake and a crepe, yet versatile enough to be served at any meal. Each year, they make the world’s largest ploye, have a watermelon eating contest, and host a family fun day, among many other festival activities. 

Mud Bowl | Caribou

Caribou is going all out with festivals in the 2020s, with the summer version of the SnowBowl happening at the Mud Bowl. It’s an epic monster truck marathon with a carnival midway, truck show, tractor pulls, and more raceway fun.

Pride | Various Statewide in June

Several Maine cities hold Pride events to support LGBTQ residents and visitors. Some of the largest are listed below. 

The Moxie Festival-Lisbon
The Moxie Festival | photo via mknnmr

Maine Events in July

July 4th Fireworks | Many Maine Towns

You can see waterfront fireworks in York, Ogunquit, Kennebunk, Old Orchard Beach, Portland, Boothbay Harbor, Camden, Castine, Bath, Freeport, and Bar Harbor.

For more details, take a look at the July 4 Maine fireworks schedule.

Logging Festival Days | Rangeley

Maine’s long logging history is celebrated every July for a weekend in the Rangeley Lakes region. Activities range from a logging parade to competitions for ax throwing and hot sawing and festival grounds with a famous bean hole beans dinner. 

Heritage Days | Bath

Heritage Days in Bath overlap with the 4th of July holiday, wrapping two big events into one. Enjoy carnival rides, games, and local food trucks, then take a walk through the beer garden and enjoy the live music. The annual traditions on the 4th include a foot race, parade, and fireworks over the Kennebec River. 

Summerfest | Bethel

Western Maine’s charming town of Bethal brings summer vibes with this annual festival that includes fireworks, animal shows, and live music. The parade comes with a different theme each year and a good old-fashioned country broil for dinner.

Lobster Boat Races-
Lobster Boat Races | photo via downeastcowboy

The Moxie Festival | Lisbon

Since 1982, the second weekend of July celebrates Moxie, Maine’s original soda pop, in Lisbon with tastings, Moxie-inspired recipes, collector’s items, and paraphernalia shared by Moxie fanatics. Don’t miss the Moxie chugging contest to see who can keep down the “Distinctly Different” drink. 

Maine Artisan Bread Fair | Skowhegan

Stop counting carbs for a day and check out the most unique creations of bread in New England. While there are booths with samples and live music, the crust of the event is the different demonstrations where you can learn skills to take home, from wood-fired pizza to perfect pastries

Nordic Trail Festival | Presque Isle

If the thought of visiting Aroostook County’s wilderness is intimidating, this is the festival to see what the hype is all about. Held at the Nordic Heritage Outdoor Center, adventurers of all skill levels are welcome for hikes, bike rides, or group runs. Those with more outdoor experience can level up with a race in the wild, including a six-hour relay. Live music, food, and drink await when you’re done. 

Yarmouth Clam Festival
Yarmouth Clam Festival | photo via maine.eater

Bastille Day | Castine

Vive la France! Since Castine was first settled as a French trading post in 1635, it’s no wonder the heritage is treasured in this small town “Under the Elms and by the Sea.” Learn how to make treasured crafts or join a historic walking tour. Another bonus of this event is the tours available at the Dyce Head Lighthouse. 

Great Schooner Race | Rockland

Here’s another event that can overlap with the 4th of July. It’s America’s largest gathering of traditional schooners. See the grandest sailing vessels enter the harbor and then race for several hours. Then, some of the boats offer tours. 

Lobster Boat Races | Stonington

This classic Maine fishing village on Deer Isle goes wild as working lobstermen in suped-up boats charge around the harbor. It’s wicked good fun — the best lobster boat race in Maine, followed by a Lobster Boat Race Dance.

North Atlantic Blues Festival | Rockland

Rockland’s annual two-day music festival weekend features top blues bands and great live music from around the country, plus food fairs and craft fairs near the waterfront of Rockland in mid-July.

Yarmouth Clam Festival | Yarmouth

One of Maine’s most popular summer events in mid-July, the Yarmouth Clam Festival is an annual three-day event, always starting on the third Friday of the month.

Festivities include the Friday night parade, Saturday night fireworks, clam shucking contests, a clam cook-off, clam cooking demos, and more than 150 craftspeople, artists, and photographers displaying and selling their work. Plus, performances by notable musicians and entertainers.

Tough Mountain Challenge | Sunday River, Newry

An ultimate summer athlete event in July at Sunday River Resort with extreme obstacle courses for teams to race. The downright dirty dynamic mountain course is a test for top athletes and amateur competitors, as well as fun for spectators to watch.

Boothbay Antiques Show & Sale | Boothbay Harbor

Boothbay Harbor becomes the showcase for antiques, collectibles, and treasures for browsers and serious collectors alike one day in July. See one of the best collections of antiques for sale in the perfect setting of the village of Boothbay.

Thoreau-Wabanaki Trail Festival l Moosehead

This multi-day cultural event celebrates Maine’s rich American Indian history in the Moosehead Lakes Region. It’s based at the Moosehead Cultural Heritage Center.

Celtic Celebration | Belfast

If anyone knows how to throw a party, it’s the Scots and Irish. Belfast celebrates its heritage with this annual festival, including live music and “heavy games,” like shot put, hammer throws, and tug-o-war. Go for the party, stay for the views, and wear the kilt. Be sure to visit Perry’s Nut House while you’re there. 

Potato Blossom Festival | Fort Fairfield

Did you know at one point, Maine produced more potatoes than Idaho? The Maine Potato Blossom Festival celebrates the state’s rich agricultural heritage, particularly its iconic potato industry. Held annually in Fort Fairfield, it’s a vibrant showcase of community spirit and agricultural pride that runs for a full week. If you’ve never seen potatoes harvested from the ground, you’re in for a real treat.

Maine Lobster Festival-Rockland
Maine Lobster Festival | photo via hewitttara

August Events in Maine

Maine Lobster Festival | Rockland

Along with tons of Maine lobsters, this world-famous New England summer event features maritime displays and demonstrations, Maine arts and crafts, harbor cruises, contests, lots of wonderful entertainment, a giant parade, and much more.

Past performances have included top national musical talents, such as the Chicks, Willie Nelson, Chubby Checker, and The Temptations.

River Fest | Skowhegan

The river that Benedict Arnold famously trekked through to Canada is now the site of a festival. Activities are held on land and on the river. Prepare for a fun parade, or get ready to paddle the whitewater. All proceeds help fund the future of Skowhegan River Park.

Riverfest | The Forks

Just 50 miles upstream, The Forks holds an annual event celebrating the recreational opportunities on the Kennebec and Dead Rivers. Scheduled releases of dam water will make the rapids that much more challenging. 

Wild Blueberry Weekend | Multiple Maine Towns

Similar to Maine Maple Sunday, the Wild Blueberry Weekend event in early August is a celebration of wild blueberries at 14 blueberry growers’ farms throughout the MidCoast and Downeast.

You’ll have the chance to drink, eat, and enjoy other wild blueberry experiences, including learning why and how wild blueberries are different from regular blueberries.

Plenty of blueberry baked goods and products will be available to purchase at participating locations. Plus, many Maine bars, restaurants, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and inns will be celebrating with weekend activities.

Great Falls Balloon Festival
Great Falls Balloon Festival | photo via marklandryphotos

Machias Wild Blueberry Festival | Machias

The biggest blueberry event is in Machias, to celebrate Maine’s blueberry harvest in a weekend-long festival and a real old-fashioned good time. Events and attractions include a children’s parade, a fish fry, a blueberry dessert buffer, an arts and crafts show, and farm tours.

Maine Boat & Home Show | Rockland

Three days of water boat shows in Rockland include yachting and nautical exhibitions, plus home and garden products. It’s a great opportunity to see the latest fleet of Maine yachts for sale, from powerboats to sailboats.

You can browse boat product booths, watch kayak and paddleboard jousting, and enjoy Maine food!

Beach Olympics | Old Orchard Beach

This beach town already feels like a festival on any summer day, but the Beach Olympics bring competition for all ages, from the beach to Palace Playland to Town Square. This is a popular destination for Canadian tourists, so be prepared for the banana hammocks on the beach. 

Acadian Festival | Madawaska

The average Maine tourist doesn’t know a lot about Acadian culture other than assuming it has something to do with Acadia National Park. This festival is part family reunion and part celebration of a heritage dating back to the 1700s forced removal of French settlers in Nova Scotia.

While the event is centered around Madawaska, events and attractions line the Canadian border.

International Homecoming Festival | Calais, Maine & St. Stephen, New Brunswick

Canadians and Mainers have a great relationship, and that’s what the International Homecoming Festival in Calias is all about. Bring your passport, too, because St. Stephen has the Chocolate Museum. 

Great Falls Balloon Festival | Lewiston & Auburn

This is one of the largest hot-air balloon festivals in Northern New England. Over 100,000 visitors watch dozens of balloons launch from the banks of the beautiful Androscoggin River, with a backdrop of the rocky Great Falls. Moonglow at dusk is one of the most impressive events.

The balloon festival features food booths, craft and trade stalls, a children’s area, and music from blues singers to jazz, pop, and oldies.

Wells Chili-Fest | Wells

Wells Harbor becomes a bowl of hot fun as local Wells restaurant chefs come out of the kitchen to compete for the best chili bragging rights and a chance at competing in the World Chili Championship Cookoff. The festival also features music and crafts in late August.

Belfast Harbor Fest | Belfast

There are three days of fun on Belfast’s historic waterfront with a Launch Party at Marshalls Wharf, a boatbuilding challenge, a rowing regatta, a cardboard boat race, and a Lobster Gala. Anyone with a paddle boat is welcome to join the four-mile race. 

Forest Heritage Days | Greenville

You can’t beat the lake summer views at Moosehead Lake, and Forest Heritage Days is a great excuse to head up north. Since 1991, this annual celebration has been dedicated to preserving the history of the working forests of Maine. Bus tours and live logging demos embrace the logging culture. Yes, you’ll probably see a moose or two while you’re there. 

Red Hot Dog Festival | Dexter

Another Maine food tradition takes over Dexter one day in August. It’s not a regular hot dog; it’s a Red Hot Dog. The bright colored casing of the dogs lends the name, with the signature “snap” when you bit into forming the nickname “The Red Snapper.” Join the hot dog eating contest or kick back and listen to live music. Kids have a whole section to play in while local vendors line the streets. 

Crown of Maine Balloon Festival | Presque Isle

At the launch site of the first balloon to successfully cross the Atlantic, an annual tradition takes to the skies one weekend in August. Wake up early for mass ascension of balloons, but stick around for Moon Glows at night. In between, take a balloon ride, listen to the local bands, or enjoy the craft market.

Sipayik Pasamaquoddy Days | Sipayik (Pleasant Point)

This annual cultural celebration is held by the Passamaquoddy Tribe to honor and showcase their rich heritage and traditions. Visitors have the opportunity to learn about the history, language, and customs of the Passamaquoddy people while enjoying delicious traditional foods and participating in community gatherings. 

Mi’kmaq Nation’s Mawiomi of Tribes | Caribou

Here’s another chance to learn about the Indigenous cultures of Maine. The event starts with a sunrise blessing ceremony and then transitions to traditional drums, dancing, crafts, and games for kids. Everyone is welcome to this modern pow-wow.

Camden Windjammer Festival | Camden

Camden’s beautiful windjammers sail through Camden Harbor during Labor Day Weekend. Even when more modern ships were designed, Camden held onto its history of windjammers with scenic tours, and that tradition is strong today. A fair, boat parade, lobster crate race, chowder challenge, and plenty of food booths round out the event. 

Laudholm Farm in Wells
Laudholm Farm, Wells I Credit: Greg & Heather Burke

Maine Events in September

Salmon Festival | Eastport

Eastport wraps up the summer season with “lox” of fun. The highlight of the event is the salmon dinner, followed by a boat tour of salmon pens. A touch tank of marine animals, craft booths, art displays, and local musicians make this a fun weekend Downeast. Be sure to snap a photo with Small Town X Fisherman and the Easternmost City buoy.

Laudholm Nature Crafts Festival | Laudholm Farm, Wells

This highly respected exhibition brings 120+ artisans from across New England to historic Laudholm Farm to show their craftworks in a lovely seaside setting. It’s held annually on the weekend after Labor Day. 

Sculpture, jewelry, pottery, prints, clothing, photography, and basketry are among the crafts selected by a jury for this prestigious event.

Maine Open Lighthouse Day | Many Maine Towns

Twenty of Maine’s lighthouses are open to the public and free of charge for one weekend day each September. While it’s a great opportunity to shine the spotlight on Maine’s treasured coastal headlights, it’s also the only time you can get a chance to see inside Portland’s famed Head Light.

Owls Head Lighthouse-Owls Head State Park
Owls Head Lighthouse | photo via davepopephoto

International Seaplane Fly-In | Greenville & the Moosehead Lake

Seaplanes, old and new, take to the skies and land on the water in front of crowds of up to 10,000 people. You can watch the poker run as pilots fly to different spots to pick up playing cards. The winner with the best hand is the champion pilot. When the planes aren’t flying, meet with the pilots, explore Greenville, and see the latest trends in aviation. The Fly-In dates back to a time when you couldn’t get here by road. 

Again, yes, you’ll probably see a moose. 

Maine Cheese Festival | Pittsfield

While you could drive all around Maine sampling the best dairy products, with this event, the farmers come to you. As one festival organizer said, “Visitors can expect more cheeses to sample than they have ever seen before.” Sounds gouda to us!

Demonstrations also help you learn to craft a perfect charcuterie board or pair wines with different cheese varieties.  

Dempsey Challenge | Lewiston

Actor Patrick Dempsey’s (“Grey’s Anatomy”) annual Cancer Fundraiser is a walk/run/bike ride from Lewiston/Auburn through Maine’s lakes and mountains by over a thousand participants. The Sexiest Man Alive also shows his charitable side at this wonderful event. 

Trails End Festival | Millinocket

Millinocket sits in the shadow of Mount Katahdin, the tallest peak in Maine, and this annual event brings three days of fun in a rugged setting that’s spectacular in the fall. There’s a parade, chili cook-off, pub crawl, and rubber duck race, just to name a few things to do. 

Pirate Festival | Eastport

“Shiver me timbers!” It’s time to head back to Eastport for the annual pirate festival. The three-day event is the weekend after Labor Day and admission is free. Get ready to dress up in your best (worst?) pirate garb and enjoy a swashbuckling good time. Plenty of fun games, fighting demonstrations, and food you can eat with your hands await. 

SPOILER ALERT: Pirates will invade the city by sea. 

Autumn Gold Days | Ellsworth

Just outside Mount Desert Island, Ellsworth embraces the change of seasons with a festival celebrating fall. Don’t miss a chance to ride the Downeast Scenic Railroad among the fall foliage. Dogs are welcome to take part in the Mutt Strutt. Plenty of vendors and stores are open with games, art projects, and special sales during this golden opportunity. 

Apple Pumpkin Festival | Livermore Falls

The last Saturday in September is all about agriculture in this Mountains and Lakes Region hub. It’s an easy adventure at the recreational field in town, with farm vendors, locally-made crafts, seasonal decor, and food galore. You’ll also learn about the farming and industrial heritage along the Androscoggin River.  

Annual Car Show | Old Orchard Beach

Hot rods and classic cars take over OOB in one of the biggest events of its kind in New England. The setting of iconic cars in an iconic beach town will rev your engine. If you’re visiting Maine during this time and have a hot rod, feel free to join the party. Anyone with a classic car can register.

Fryeburg Fair
Fryeburg Fair | photo via elise_spacek

October Events in Maine

Be sure to pair any October event with some leaf peeping. The state of Maine does a great job with weekly reports to find the best spots to explore. 

Fall Foliage Festival | Boothbay

This festival is about as idyllic as a Maine fall festival will ever get. Not only are you surrounded by the beauty of the land, sea, and stunning colors, but you also get to enjoy it across four acres of historic buildings. Fresh seafood and a soundtrack of local music make this a great Downeast weekend.

Swine & Stein Brewfest | Gardiner

Along Water Street facing the Kennebec River, the biggest flows come from the beer taps at this boozy festival in Gardiner. More than 20 breweries are available, with meaderies, wineries, cideries, and distilleries showing off their special flavors. Games include a frozen t-shirt contest, a beard and mustache face-off, and a competitive game of Rock Paper Scissors. 

Acadia’s Octoberfest | Bass Harbor/Mount Desert Island

More brewers take over Mount Desert Island for one day in October, with samples of various brews, shop local specialty stores, and compete in stein hoisting and keg tossing. As a bonus, the Bass Harbor Lighthouse is one of the best spots for the sunset on Mount Desert Island. 

Maine’s Garlic Fest | Canaan/Skowhegan

We head back to Lake George near Skowhegan for this pungent party. If you didn’t fall in love with Lake George in the summer, you’ll certainly be wooed in the fall. Explore the lake among the sights of fall foliage and the scent of garlic infused into dozens of foods. Enjoy the live music and the agricultural atmosphere.

OgunquitFest Ogunquit Maine @paulmarte
OgunquitFest | photo via @paulmarte

Pumpkinfest & Regatta | Damariscotta

Pumpkins the size of sedans steal the show at this fall event along the Damariscotta River. The gorgeous gords become works of art, painted and propped for display. More pumpkins are carved and engineered for the pumpkin regatta on the water. Pumpkin-spiced food awaits at every turn and be sure to leave plenty of room for pumpkin desserts.  

As one of the premier events in Maine’s robust fall list, Pumpkinfest now has a mobile app to explore the schedule of events. 

Open Creamery Day | Statewide

This is the Maple Syrup Sunday of dairy farms across Maine. The event is always on the Sunday of Indigenous People’s Day. The list of options keeps growing, and it’s an awesome chance to explore some of the towns that don’t make the typical Maine fall visit. 

Fryeburg Fair | Fryeburg

Since 1851, local farmers have been showing off their produce, cattle, and wares. From late September to early October, Fryeburg Fair is Maine’s largest agricultural fair, complete with a week of harness racing, a farm museum, the world’s largest steer and oxen show, and a carnival of rides, games, and fair food.

A beautiful setting in prime foliage time, Maine’s largest fair includes an exhibition hall, a farm museum, craft demonstrations, and nightly big-name concerts. We will have a full list of Maine fairs later in this article. 

North American Wife Carrying Championship | Sunday River, Newry

In early October, men and women compete in a challenging obstacle course with a twist — the husband must carry the wife in the Estonian style to win her weight in beer and five times her weight in cash.

The tournament at Sunday River is a must-see event with scenic chairlift rides, crafts, food, wine tasting, and a beer tent during prime foliage at the Maine ski resort.

Kennebunk HarvestFest | Downtown Kennebunk

A farmer’s market, parade, craft fair, food, and music are part of this old home-style family-friendly fall festival near Kennebunkport. A costume parade is open to all adults and kids. Look for guided nature tours in the heart of Kennebunk’s fall foliage.

York Harvestfest | York Beach

An annual celebration of Maine food and culture, a juried craft fair, marketplace, and music on York Beach, Maine. A special section of the event is dedicated to KidsFest, with stops at York’s Wild Kingdom. 

OgunquitFest | Ogunquit

A fun-filled weekend of fall-themed events, including pumpkin and cookie decorating, costume parade, classic car show, craft show, funhouse, high heel race, bed race, wagon rides, storytelling, and a scarecrow contest in beautiful Ogunquit by the sea.

Harvest on the Harbor | Portland

Portland’s premier food and wine event showcases top local chefs, Maine food, and wines in beautiful waterfront settings. Each day of the event focuses on a new type of indulgence, from distilleries to chocolate. The best Maine lobster chefs compete for Chef of the Year, and you get to sample all the contenders. Come out of your shell for Oysterfest on the last day, with one ticket getting you 18 select shucks.

Trick or Treating | The Kennebunks

Merchants throughout Kennebunk and Kennebunkport hand out goodies to little ghosts, pirates, princesses, etc. Summer Street is decorated beyond belief on this spirited night of October 31. Kennbunk’s Lower Village and downtown take part, as well as the Dock Square in Kennebunkport. 

The best part for everyone is that the streets are blocked off for everyone’s safety to explore and enjoy.

Brightly lit holiday tree made of lobster traps and fishing gear displays in front of lighted Nubble lighthouse for the Christmas season in Maine. A tradition along the New England seacoast. The Cape Neddick Light (aka Nubble Light) is a lighthouse in Cape Neddick, York, Maine.
Nubble Light, York

Maine Events in November

As we get into the holiday season, it’s worth noting that the majority of Maine holiday events happen around Thanksgiving weekend or the first two weeks of December. That can make it hard to attend multiple festivals in one trip. Here’s a highlight of the biggest events, but check our full list of Best Christmas Events in Maine.

Kringleville | Waterville

From the end of November through about half of December, kids will love to visit Santa on Main Street in Downtown Waterville. Join the Parade of Lights and pick up a map for Light Up The Town decoration stops. Be sure to visit the new Children’s Discovery Museum while you’re there. 

Maine Harvest Festival | Bangor

This two-day event in mid-November brings out the best farmers and crafters statewide for an arena full of fun. Check out this sample list of vendors to get an idea of what’s in store. Maine author meets and greets are scheduled throughout the event.

Country Christmas | Bethel

Experience the Christmas season in the village of Bethel, where you can meet Santa, take a horse-drawn wagon ride, and enjoy the light decor and performances. Be sure to explore the historic museums and the traditional 19th-century decorations.

Festival of Trees | Saco

Dozens of stunningly decorated trees and wreaths are created based on themes picked every season and hosted at the Dyer Library and Saco Museum. A raffle is held where you can buy your favorite tree or get in the mix to win other great local prizes. 

Lighting Nubble Lighthouse | Sohier Park, York

For some York locals, the holiday season doesn’t start until witnessing the annual lighting of the iconic Nubble Lighthouse the last weekend of November. In Sohier Park, there’s music, hot cocoa, cookies, and Santa. The lighthouse stays lit through mid-February and is fired up again for 10 days in the summer.

Old Fashioned Christmas | Bath

Following Thanksgiving through December, Bath hosts An Old Fashioned Christmas, where Santa joins the Children’s Tree Lighting along with caroling, contests, live music, and more!

Christmas Prelude-Kennebunkport
Christmas Prelude | photo via kmunchie

December Events in Maine

Christmas Prelude | Kennebunkport

A magical season filled with holiday-inspired events, tree lightings, entertainment, shopping, craft fairs, caroling, and Santa in a lobster boat! The Kennebunkport Maine Christmas Prelude is held around the first two weeks of December.

Sparkle Celebration | Freeport

The first weekend of December, inspire your holiday spirit with a Parade of Lights down Main Street, concerts, visits with Santa, decorating contests, the famous Talking Christmas Tree, and more!

Festival of Lights | York

From the Polar Express, breakfast with Santa, and a parade to craft fairs, painting with Santa, and church suppers and desserts, the Festival of Lights is an exciting, special series of events in York. 

Holiday Light Parade | Presque Isle

The Light Parade is always the first Saturday in December between the University of Maine at Presque Isle campus and North Street Plaza. trophies will be awarded to the best floats at the end. Walkers in the parade may hand out candy to onlookers. The following weekend, a Victorian Christmas at the Estey is a unique way to tour the local history museum. 

Christmas By The Sea-Ogunquit
Christmas By The Sea | photo via dan_spiess

Gardens Aglow | Boothbay 

Boothbay Harbor celebrates the holiday season with six weeks of Boothbay Lights. One of the nationally-ranked holiday attractions mixed in with this festival is Gardens Aglow at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. Explore 14 acres of holiday decorations and lights among beautiful gardens.  

Check the schedule of events closer to the holidays for other specific event dates, like the parade and North Pole Express. 

Christmas by the Sea | Ogunquit

This seaside Christmas season celebration is filled with a parade, holiday decorations, caroling, entertainment, shopping, and craft fairs in Ogunquit the first two weekends in December. You’ll also get to enjoy fireworks on the beach.

Mountain Holly Days | Rangeley

As a Rangeley holiday event, Mountain Holly Days features specials in all participating shops, open houses, refreshments, shoppers raffles, and more! When you’re more focused on finding the perfect unique gifts than pomp and circumstance, escape to this mountain town. 

Chester Greenwood Day | Farmington

While the state of Maine has an official Chester Greenwood Day, the inventor of ear muffs lived in Farmington, and a special festival celebrates his life and legacy. Enjoy a parade, food, a festival of trees, and an estate tour.

List of Fairs Statewide

County or community fair season runs throughout the summer and fall in Maine, with Fryeburg’s Fair mentioned above as the largest. However, you still get plenty of action at two dozen other venues. Some of the fairs date back more than 170 years!

DatesFairTown
Mid-JuneSpringfield FairSpringfield, Maine
Mid-JunePittston Fair“Maine’s Friendliest Fair”Pittston, Maine
Late JuneMonmouth FairMonmouth, Maine
Early JulyUnion FairUnion, Maine
Mid-JulyOssipee Valley FairSouth Hiram, Maine
Mid-JulyHoulton FairHoulton, Maine
Late JulyWaterford World’s FairNorth Waterford, Maine
Late July/Early AugustBangor State FairBangor, Maine
Late July/Early AugustNorthern Maine FairPresque Isle, Maine
Early AugustTopsham FairTopsham, Maine
Early/Mid-AugustSkowhegan State FairSkowhegan, Maine
Late AugustActon FairActon, Maine
Late AugustPiscataquis Valley FairDover-Foxcroft, Maine
Late AugustWashington County FairPembroke, Maine
Late August/Early SeptemberWindsor FairWindsor, Maine
Late August/Early SeptemberBlue Hill Fair“A Down to Earth Country Fair”Blue Hill, Maine
Late August/Early SeptemberHarmony Free FairHarmony, Maine
Early SeptemberClinton Lions Agricultural Fair“The Biggest Little Fair in the State”Clinton, Maine
Early SeptemberLitchfield FairLitchfield, Maine
Mid-SeptemberOxford County FairOxford, Maine
Mid-SeptemberNew Portland Lion’s FairNew Portland, Maine
Mid-SeptemberFarmington FairFarmington, Maine
Late SeptemberCommon Ground FairUnity, Maine
Late SeptemberCumberland FairCumberland Ctr, Maine
Late September/Early OctoberFryeburg FairFryeburg, Maine

Statewide Week Celebrations

Sometimes the party is just too big for one city or county to handle, and that’s where the bigger week or monthlong celebrations come in.

Seaweed Week | Coastal Communities

Go crazy for kelp at coastal restaurants and bars, embracing the superfood of the sea. More than 70 businesses take part in this April event, and workshops are held to teach more about the varieties and health benefits of seaweed.  

Maine Restaurant Week | Statewide

March might be Mud Season, but that’s a great excuse to spend more time sampling the statewide food finds of Maine Restaurant Week. Find the full list of restaurants and start choosing your meal plan.

207 Beer Week | Statewide

This is a new festival that will quickly become an old favorite. The goal is to celebrate the robust selections of Maine-made craft beer. Throughout the week, the party “hops” to different locations around the state. 

Maine Lobster Week | Statewide

The last week of September is Maine Lobster Week, where participating restaurants create special lobster feasts at a set price. Much like Restaurant Week, you can review the list of options ahead of time.

U.S. National Toboggan Championships-gsoutiea
U.S. National Toboggan Championships | photo via gsoutiea

Maine Events in January

New Year’s Polar Plunge | Portland, Kennebunk, and Old Orchard Beach

Every year, brave swimmers start the New Year with a dip in the frigid waters of the Atlantic Ocean at Maine beaches for fun and a good cause benefiting various charities.

Old Orchard Beach has a Lobster Dip in early January for Special Olympics fundraising, and Kennebunk’s Atlantic Plunge at Goohes Beach is in early January. Those who want to get an early start on plunging can take part in the Polar Bear Dip & Dash in Portland on New Year’s Eve.

Winterfest | Camden

Camden’s cool event is in late January and has been attracting guests for over two decades. The event also goes to the dogs with a four-legged fashion show and yet another chance to jump into the cold, icy waters of Camden Harbor. This one-day event packs in a lot of winter fun, including your chance to learn ice carving. 

SnowFest and Snodeo | Rangeley

Mid-January folks on Rangeley Lake near Saddleback Lake celebrate winter with snowmobile races and an antique snowmobile parade. The Snodeo is a big winter party with sled radar races and zips across Rangeley Lake, plus food and fun games in town. Don’t miss the fireworks over this amazing winter wonderland.

Vertical Challenge | Select Ski Resorts

Never has an event sounded so much more intimidating than it really is, and that’s why the Vertical Challenge is one of the best parts of January across New England. Select ski resorts are chosen each year to host the family-friendly event. 

The goal is to share the love of skiing and snowboarding with kids and first-timers, fostering a diverse and inclusive environment. Yeah, you can win the race, but just showing up makes you a winner here. 

Long Lake Ice Fishing Derby | St. Agatha

One of the best ideas to bring people to St. Agatha (“San-uh-gat”) in Aroostook County was in 2005. The ice fishing derby now brings nearly 2,000 people from both sides of the border, hoping to win big prizes for big fish. 

Long Lake and Fish River Chain of Lakes now bring competitors vying for the biggest muskie, salmon, togue, and more. If pulling a nearly 27-pound fish out through an ice hole sounds fun, mark your calendar! Even the kids can come and compete.  

Paint the Town Red-Kennebunkport
Paint the Town Red | photo via cindyfitzmorris

February Events in Maine

US National Toboggan Championships | Camden Snow Bowl, Camden

During February vacation week, amateurs and pro teams compete on Camden’s classic toboggan run for the fastest time. Teams of two, three, or four people don crazy costumes for the wild ride on traditional toboggans down the icy track for the title of champion.

The Camden Snow Bowl offers skiing and snowboarding, plus sledding, tubing, and ice skating all winter, but this is its biggest event.

Fire on the Mountain | Carrabassett Valley

Become a Sugarloafer and a Dead Head at this annual late January (sometimes overlapping into early February) celebration of the Grateful Dead. Plus, you’ll be at the largest ski destination in the East during the snowiest month of the year. Various artists perform throughout the three-day weekend. Tickets sell out fast. “Shall we go, you and I, while we can?”

Longfellow Days | Brunswick

This literary festival celebrates Henry Wadsworth Longfellow and his time as a student and then a teacher at Bowdoin College. 

As Longfellow might have written about this event, “In Brunswick’s embrace, where Bowdoin’s spires pierce the sky, I find solace amid the pines. The gentle flow of the Androscoggin whispers verses to my soul, inspiring tales of love and longing. From ivy-covered halls to cobblestone streets, time dances slowly, allowing my pen to weave dreams into reality, immortalizing the essence of Maine’s beauty in every stanza. In Longfellow days, Brunswick becomes a symphony of inspiration, a muse that lingers forever in the heart.”

Winterfest | Bath

Your ship has definitely come in when you celebrate winter in Bath along the Kennebec River. This is one of the newer winter events in the state, starting in 2021, but nobody does a quintessential New England celebration better than Bath. Traditional winter activities mix with creative events, like sword fighting and a kids’ winter gauntlet. The celebration goes into the night with comedy shows, concerts, and a lantern parade.

WinterFest | Biddeford

As the cool kids would say, Biddeford is “lit” for WinterFest. This city is now the youngest in Maine, with an average resident age of just 35 years old. As a hip town, you’ll get plenty of hops with locally brewed beer and an adults-only sledding party. Don’t worry – the kids get to sled the next day. 

Throw in a pub crawl, some pony rides, and a comedy show, among other winter activities, and you’ll beg to stay in Biddeford longer.

Ice Festival & Ice Carving Championship | Belfast

If the cold never bothered you anyway, get to the ice festival and state ice carving championship in Belfast. The competition is just the tip of the iceberg, as an ice bar, ice carving demonstration, and a chilly row in the icy waters await. 

When you’re as cold as ice, dip into one of the many restaurants and shops in Belfast. Save room for dessert because Maine maple snowcones might be the best idea since whoopie pies! 

Somerset SnowFest | Skowhegan

Ditch the sled and grab your paddle because we’re going snow kayaking at SnowFest on Lake George! This Skowhegan specialty takes over the beautiful Lake George Regional Park in Somerset County. 

With traditional winter carnival and sleigh rides mixed in, the fest gets funky and fresh with genius ideas like “ice hole” (cornhole concept but using a frozen lake), kids box sled derby down the hill, an ice Kite Festival, and the famous downhill kayak race (on a sledding hill, of course).

Skijor Skowhegan is part of the festival, with a rider and a horse pulling a competitor on skis or snowboard through a 1,000-foot track of tricks. 

Maine Lakes Winter Festival | Bridgton

Bridgton packs a lot of stuff into one wintery day, including carriage rides, an ice bar, and an ice fishing contest for kids. Grab your skis and head to the beach for the Rail Jam. If you’re getting too cold, sign up for the Spicy Chili Eating Contest.

Pet lovers should know you can jump in the freezing lake to benefit the local animal shelter. Fireworks top off the night.

Chocolate Festival | Greenville

Better yet, if you have a special chocolate recipe, you can compete! 

Indulge indoors at the Greenville Annual Chocolate Festival with unique creations based on chocolate. All you do is buy a box and then wander around to find your perfect picks and fill it up. We recommend the early bird access ticket so you get the best picks. The silent auction is filled with unique Moosehead region gifts, and live music sweetens the whole experience.

Paint the Town Red | Kennebunkport, Kennebunk, Arundel, Biddeford, Saco

The romantic seaside town of Kennebunkport started the annual “Paint the Town Red” celebration, but now Biddeford and Saco join the Kennebunks for this romantic month-long celebration.

What’s particularly special about this is that every business, niche, and resort gets in on the fun. A typical visit might include a morning yoga class followed by a spa treatment. Then, head to a movie matinee before a night of wine tasting and lobster feasts. Everything from balancing chakras to an adults-only sledding night is on the table (and don’t worry about the kids; there’s even a babysitting option).  

Ice Harvest Day | South Bristol

Long before we could freeze water to make ice, the cubes had to be harvested from bitterly cold regions and then sent around the world. South Bristol became a focal point after a landowner made an ice house for himself. An ice harvesting business grew from that, spanning five generations from 1826 to 1985. 

The creative concept is showcased at the Thompson Ice House Harvesting Museum, but one day a year, they get ice the “old school” way, and you’re invited to harvest ice with them.

Norway Snowshoe Festival | Norway

Snowshoes weren’t invented in Norway, but for 130 years, it was the “Snowshoe Town of America.” The Snowshoe Festival is a mix of outdoor antics like a tug-of-war on snowshoes, a fashion show, and a snowshoe race. Plus, the heritage of fiddler and famed snowshoe maker Mellie Dunham is celebrated in a contra dance. 

FUN FACT: Dunham made snowshoes for Admiral Donald MacMillan on the 1908 Arctic expeditions. Just 13 years later, another piece of footwear came to international attention when MacMillan’s crew was supplied with boots from Leon Leonwood Bean – bringing L.L. Bean’s famed boots into the mainstream.

Flavors of Freeport | Freeport

Pick up a pair of your own Bean Boots while visiting the flagship store in Freeport, then eat your heart out! The Flavors of Freeport celebration displays the elite of the local culinary scene at Fare & Ice while also offering the Frosty Frolic outside with an oyster bar and other snackables. Dance off all those calories with live music at the end of the day. 

Maine Maple Sunday
Maine Maple Sunday | photo via thehomesteadyrambler

Maine Events in March

Maine Maple Sunday | Statewide

Maine Maple sugar shacks provide free samples and show how maple syrup, aka liquid gold, is made at sugar shacks throughout the state. The events are typically held on the third weekend in March, and you get more than 100 locations from Portland to North Woods from which to choose. Some sugar houses even let you tap your own tree.

Winterfest | Westbrook

Just west of Portland, Westbrook brings winter fun to the banks of the Presumbscot River. You can enjoy sledding, ice skating, a petting zoo, and even watch a cold water rescue demonstration. They had us at free s’mores, but walking a goat is intriguing, too. Plus, you can enjoy the view of Saccarappa Falls, and maybe, if you’re lucky, you’ll see the mysterious ice disk

SnowBowl | Caribou

Up in “The County,” Caribou is quickly making a name for itself one seasonal festival at a time. This new event kicked off in 2023 to much fanfare, with snowcross racing, high-flying snowmobile stunts with Rave X, and a spot to test your skills on a snowmobile. 

The full schedule of events spreads across Aroostook County, helping introduce a new crowd to the wonders of Maine’s winter.   

Ice Out Plunge | Winthrop

Here’s another “jump in ice cold water in the name of charity” event, based on the popular declaration of “ICE OUT” at the end of winter. Ice out or not, the plunge is still on to benefit the Special Olympics. 

Can-Am Sled Races | Fort Kent

The Can-Am Crown is made up of three races: 30 miles, 60 miles, and 250 miles. The 250-mile race is the longest in the eastern United States and takes place in Maine’s Upper St. John Valley. While Fort Kent is the focal point, spectator stations are set up all the way to Allagash. The whole family is invited, except for the dog. 

Reggae Fest-Sugarloaf Mountain
Reggae Fest | photo via greenlioncrew

April Events in Maine

Spring Fest Weekend | Sunday River, Newry

Jimmy Buffet music lovers gather on the sunny ski slopes for music, margarita mix-offs, key lime pie-eating contests, and pond skimming at this annual event. It’s typically held the first weekend in April at Sunday River.

Maine Culinary Festival | Augusta

If Pinterest were a party, it would look a lot like the Maine Culinary Festival. More than 90 booths line the Augusta Civic Center with samples and items for sale. From dog treats to Downeast delights, every food group is covered. Plus, find out who has the best pie recipes or submit your own to the judges of the Pie Contest. 

Sugarloaf Reggae Fest | Carrabassett Valley

The biggest spring ski party and island music festival in the mountains, Sugarloaf hosts over eight live reggae bands in both indoor and outdoor concert venues with 10,000 attendees.

This second weekend in April is a three-day event of big-name reggae musicians, parties, and a beach scene at the base of Sugarloaf’s slopes – still open for skiing.

World’s Largest Ice Carousel | St. Agatha

Back in St. Agatha, they are still focused on ice, but this time isn’t about making the largest circle of ice spin instead of ice fishing. In 2023, the Northern Maine Ice Busters broke the record – again – with a spinning circle of ice on Long Lake with a diameter of One World Trade Center in New York – 1776 feet. 

The best part about this adventure is that other groups try to break Maine’s record, so the whole process starts over again the next year. Of course, this group isn’t above breaking their OWN record. 

Splash into Spring l Ogunquit

Celebrate your Patriotism and Colonial history in the seaside town with parades, re-enactments, Taste of the Town, and Treasure Hunts during the annual Patriots Day weekend. This celebration also kicks off the opening weekend for the Oguinquit Museum of Art and Ogunquit Playhouse, two must-see attractions in the “Beautiful Place by the Sea.” 

Chowderfest | Portland

Chowder is a serious business in Portland, and this annual event pits the best restaurants in the city against each other. Your ticket gets you a passport to try a sample of every restaurant. You should know that there are no rules for what is in the chowder or how it’s made, so get ready for creative concoctions. 

Shirley Bog-Greenville-deannawrubleski
Greenville | photo via deannawrubleski

Maine Events in May

Kennebunk’s May Day Festival | Kennebunk

Ditch Dock Square and head to downtown Kennebunk for a family-friendly event. The first weekend in May, Kennebunk hosts a hometown parade, live outdoor music, craft fairs and farmer’s markets, games for kids, and old-fashioned village fun for the family. Each year, new activities are added, expanding the footprints to Lafayette Park and Mousam River Sanctuary in recent years. 

Lilac Festival | Paris

Follow the scents of lilacs to western Maine for this one-day event that features more than 125 different varieties throughout 200 trees. What is especially poignant about this festival is that the land in 1936 was barren until Bernard McLaughlin started learning about soil and horticulture.

He became known as “The Dean of Maine Gardeners” and opened his gardens to anyone passing by.

Now, the garden and homestead honor his work and the diverse array of lilacs, a sure sign that summer is coming. 

Apple Blossom Festival | Gorham

Get to the core of spring at the Apple Blossom Festival and enjoy samples of local apple treats, or create a craft that will be the apple of your eye. Live music, face painting, and food trucks round out a perfect Maine spring day. It’s also conveniently located between Sebago Lake and Portland. 

Wings, Waves & Woods | Deer Isle

Spread your wings to Deer Isle and build up your knowledge of birds. A weekend of activities is planned, with the highlight being a boat trip to Seal Island, where you can spot puffins among dozens of other seabirds. The Island Heritage Trust hosts this event and you can get great access to islands that might not otherwise make your itinerary. 

Fiddlehead Festival | Presque Isle

First, what’s a fiddlehead? It’s the “furled fronds of a fledgling fern” (say that three times fast). These veggies sprouting along river banks in Maine signal spring is finally here. While they get top billing at this festival, it’s really an organic food celebration, including dairy, produce, and other treats made organically on Maine farms.   

Maine Fungi Fest | Portland

Finally, fungus gets a festival. This unique experience dives into the world of organisms like mushrooms, yeast, and mildew from a plant-based and holistic perspective. The Fungi Fest is a psychedelic experience that opens your mind and expands your knowledge of this underestimated organism. 

Hey, you can also learn about the most dangerous fungi in Maine. Meanwhile, try to figure out the right way to pronounce fungi because we’ve heard at least three iterations from vendors.    

Kennebunkport Festival
Kennebunkport Festival | photo via mainearthill

Enjoy All of the Events in Maine

We have a few tips when you’re choosing between all the great festivals. 

First, the smaller the town gets, the less likely there will be an updated website. Always check the social media pages for the latest information. Don’t hesitate to call for more information. 

Second, most of these awesome events are organized by volunteers. Sometimes, the schedule of an event might not be available until the month before due to busy schedules. 

Finally, the pandemic did a number on many Maine festivals. Some were reimagined, others were too challenging to continue post-pandemic, and even more great ideas came for the next generation of festivals. 

We’ve done due diligence to assure you that all these festivals are planned for the next year, but issues like weather, funding, and volunteers can cause cancelations. 

Mainers are determined to provide as many festivals as possible to showcase the unique elements of the state. We’d love to see photos of you at your favorite Maine festival! 

4 Comments

  1. Jacqueline Perry says:

    When is the Kennebunkport Hat Parade?
    Don’t see it listed in the prelude of events….
    Thank you

  2. Best view i have ever seen !

  3. I did not see any mention of the 2023 Damariscotta Pumpkinfest & Regatta 10/6/23 – 10/9/23 The art of growing giant pumpkins, blended with pumpkin art, pumpkin parade, a pumpkin regatta (relay races with hollowed out pumpkin boats). It is an event where people return year after year from all over the east coast. Not to be missed!

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