Monday, August 31, 2009

2009 American Folk Festival

Photos by Leslie Bowman

While the rain kept many people inside on Saturday, the music went on at the Folk Fest. Check out some of Leslie's photos below...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

American Folk Fest: Almost here!

By Melanie Brooks

Bangor is all abuzz right now as the city gears up for the American Folk Festival. I just picked up the 2009 official program and have been feasting my eyes on all the interesting acts that will be performing this weekend.

Who am I looking forward to seeing? Mythili Prakash is first on my list. This 26-year-old performs the traditional South Indian dance of Bharata Natyam. Prakash is an American born Indian and her traditional dress, make up, and jewelry fascinate me. The fact that she was acclaimed as a dance prodigy at the age of 8 also fascinates me. I can't wait to check her out. She performs on the Penobscot Stage twice on Saturday (3 and 7:45 pm) and again on Sunday (5:15). Check out her website here.

I'm also interested in catching Brice Chapman's cowboy trick rope show...something you don't see much of in this part of the country. He does all sorts of tricks with his Border Collie, Sooner, and I'm pretty easy to impress. You can find him Saturday on the Heritage Stage (4:15 pm) and on Sunday in the Family Area (12:45 pm) and on the Penobscot Stage (3:30 pm). I have a feeling that after seeing Chapman and his dog I'm going to need to fashion a lasso of my own and try his tricks at home with my chihuahua, Miles. Check out his website.

And of course the Folk Festival wouldn't be what it is without the food. From spanakopita to samosas, the food vendors keep a smile on my face and my belly full. I can taste those fresh-cut French fries already...

What are YOU looking forward to?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Quilts of Valor

By Melanie Brooks

A few of my friends and I have started a sewing circle we refer to as Stitch n' Bitch. We're a group of 20 and 30-somethings with a knack for creativity. We meet every Monday night in my mothers newly built (by my dad) craft room in the basement of their Orono home. It's a nice room with lots of counter space for all of our sewing machines.

Alyssa has turned us all on to quilting and I am finishing up my very first quilt! I have to point that when I told my mother and grandmother (who are both talented seamstresses) that I was going to make my 2-year-old niece a quilt they both laughed in my face. Literally. So I love flaunting my almost-finished quilt in their faces. I may not be at their level of craftiness, but I'm no slouch!

Anyway. Alyssa suggested we make a Quilt of Valor as a group. A QOV (as it's known) is a quilt made to honor wounded soldiers. It's a tangible way to thank them for their sacrifice and commitment to our country. Yesterday, Alyssa and I went to Marden's to pick out our fabric. We piece together the top of the quilt and then either find a local volunteer longarmer (someone who will stitch the top, batting, and bottom of the quilt together) or mail it to one affiliated with the QOV and then send it off to be dispersed to a needy soldier.

Alyssa and I chose a color scheme that includes blues, greens, and purples. Each of the four Stitch n' Bitchers are required to sew four 12x12 squares for the quilt. It's a great project to do as a group because you are only responsible for a part of the finished project.

Interested in getting involved? It's easy! Check out the QOV website. Marden's has a ton of fabric at very reasonable prices, but you can also check out Walmart and Joanne Fabrics for material and quilting supplies. (Joann is having a great sale right now on quilting supplies including batting, cutting boards, and rotary cutters.) It's a worthwhile project that you know will brighten someone else's day.

I'll be posting photos of our progress on Bangor Metro's Facebook page. Become a fan and follow the fun!

Friday, August 21, 2009

CANCELED: Blues and Brews

It's true.

Due to impending thunderstorms, we've decided to cancel Brews & Blues. This is how I feel about it...

Look at how sad I am! But truthfully, it's better to cancel the event and be safe than run the risk of someone being electrocuted by lightening. The good news? We're already organized for next years event...

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Gearing up for Blues & Brews

All of us at Bangor Metro world headquarters are feverishly getting geared up for the First Annual Blues & Brews Festival happening this Saturday from 4-9 pm in West Market Square.

I wanted to share some details with you to titillate your taste buds and get your toes a-tappin'.

Who's beer are we tasting?

We have four local breweries on the docket:
Shipyard Brewing Company
Atlantic Brewing Company
Winterport Winery/Penobscot Bay Brewery Black Bear Brewery.

Who's playing the music?

Mark "Guitar" Miller Blues Band

Eric Green's Blues Party
Mike Billings' Big Tyme Blues
The Dogs

Brews will be voted on in 5 categories. Come out and try them all! On Facebook? Check out the Bangor Metro page and RSVP under our "Events".

Monday, August 17, 2009

2009 Senior League World Series

By Melanie Brooks
Photos by Shane Leonard

This August marks the 8th year that Mansfield Stadium in Bangor has played host to the Senior League World Series. Senior League baseball is a division of Little League for 14 to 16 year olds. This playoff series is a big deal. Teams come from all over the U.S., Canada, Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific. Stadium workers were sprucing up the place in anticipation.

To kick off the event, 9 members from the 1989 state championship team, Bangor West, gathered to have breakfast and be honored by their former coach, Dave Mansfield. The paint was fresh and the lawn had just been manicured.

A tape of Bangor West's win over York for the state pennant was playing under a tent. It was fun to see how the players had changed from boys into adults. Some of them even had children of their own!

It was scorching out so I hid in the dugout in the shade while Shane took photos. I really like the baseball player painted on the wall. Shane will be in and out of the stadium all week so if you see a guy in cargo shorts and a black or blue Nike shirt say hi...he won't bite.

And if you happen to catch a game check out all the cool merchandise on sale. Shane and I particularly liked these cool printed baseballs. Game on!

For more information on the series click here. For information on Mansfield Stadium and tickets click here.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Blues and Brews

What are you doing on Saturday, August 22nd? Hopefully you're planning on attending Bangor Metro's First Annual Blues and Brews Festival in West Market Square!

Come check out some of Maine's best local bands and sample Maine microbrews. The Whig & Courier and Paddy Murphy's will both have outdoor beer gardens so you wont miss any of the action. Admission is FREE and the music will play from 4pm to 9pm. This year's acts include The Eric GREEN Party!, Mike Billings Big Tyme Blues Band, The Dogs, and Mark "Guitar" Miller.

Those who choose to sample the microbrews will be able to rank their favorites among six categories. The results will be published in Bangor Metro with photos from the event. Grab your friends and head downtown for the fun and festivities!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Blues Traveler @ L.L. Bean Summer Concert Series

By Melanie Brooks

If you came of age in the 1990s you probably know who Blues Traveler is. (If not, scroll to the bottom of this post and watch the video.) When I heard Blues Traveler were going to be a part of L.L. Bean's free summer concert series I made plans to head to Freeport.

Saturday was gorgeous -- one of the few glorious summer days we've had this summer. People started setting up their chairs in the concert space in the afternoon in anticipation of crowd. How many people could possibly be coming to this event? A lot. So many that there wasn't even any place to stand as security guards and cops kept pushing fans off of the sidewalks to make room for emergency exits.

The great thing about a free concert is that, well, it's free! It also draws a wide population of people from the very young to the very old. If you don't like the music you can leave without being too disappointed because you spent money on it.

But Blues Traveler was no disappointment. I'm not sure how you feel about the harmonica, but John Popper makes it wail -- which is sort of surprising considering how small it is. There was even a woman signing the songs on the side of the stage. She got really into it...which I guess you have to do when conveying the blues.

I ended up standing throughout the entire concert, which was ok with me but not with everyone behind me. It seemed like wherever I stood someone was waving me out of the way. It's a concert people! Get up and dance!

The lights high up in the trees were really pretty -- especially against the spectacular sunset that night.

There are still some free summer concerts to catch in Freeport -- I'd suggest planning on catching Dar Williams this coming Saturday, August 8th. I saw her at The Strand this winter and she puts on a fun, entertaining show. The following is the lineup for the rest of the summer:

August 8: Dar Williams

August 15: The Wallflowers

August 22: An Evening of Maine Songwriters Featuring Carol Noonan, Ellis Paul, and Slaid Cleaves

August 29: Terrance Simien and the Zydeco Experience

September 5: Eileen Ivers and Immigrant Soul

September 6 (Sunday): Asleep at the Wheel

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Doughnut People

By Melanie Brooks

In April, Bangor Metro ran a story on my dad, Brian Brooks, and his delicious homemade doughnuts. It catapulted him into stardom (obviously) and he started getting recognized all over UMaine's campus, where he works in facilities management, and around Orono where he lives. Most of his friends and family didn't even know he made doughnuts and after the article was published everyone wanted some.

But it wasn't until he got a call out of the blue from Marie McHenan that his family knew he'd really hit the big time. See, Marie is known as "The Doughnut Lady" from Stonington. She had read the article, found my father in the phone book, and left a lovely message on my parents' answering machine. Fortunately my parents were planning a week-long vacation in Stonington in July and I urged my dad, "The Doughnut Guy", to meet "The Doughnut Lady."

And he did!

Marie wasn't hard to find. Everyone in Deer Isle/Stonington knows about her. She doesn't make doughnuts anymore but for good reason...they're too popular! Marie used to make 480 doughnuts a day, which meant she had to get up and get started at 4:30 am. By 2:30 pm she would have them all packaged and delivered to several area stores. It makes me tired just thinking about it! Marie, 73, is a legend. She's been the grand marshal in a couple of parades and had a Deer Isle/Stonington high school yearbook dedicated to her.

These days she spends a lot of time with her children and grandchildren. I was hoping "The Doughnut Guy" and "The Doughnut Lady" would swap some tips, tricks, and recipes but they were tight-lipped about their delicacies. For good reason I suppose...if you're as popular as The Doughnut People you don't want to share all your secrets, especially with the competition.