PORTLAND — Expansion is the order of the day for two returning city festivals.
The Old Port Festival kicks off Thursday as a four-day party capped by the traditional 11 a.m. Sunday, June 14, parade and street fest with seven stages of live music and entertainment.
On Friday, Pride Portland begins a 10-day celebration of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender life.
The events are highlighted, but not completed, by the 11 a.m. June 20 Pride Parade from Monument Square to Deering Oaks Park, followed by the 1 p.m. Pride Festival in the park.
“It is great we could keep the momentum going,” Pride Portland co-chair Jill Barkley said June 5. “Within that, we made sure there is something for everyone, making sure there are as many family friendly, substance free events as we could.”
Both events have expanded in the last two years, and the Old Port Festival this year adds an array of concerts at the Maine State Pier on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.
On Saturday, the Old Port Festival will include “Second Shop Saturday,” a new showcase of the independently owned Old Port businesses, and a walking tour of waterfront businesses and attractions on Commercial street, from Becky’s Diner to the Maine State Pier.
Portland Pride adds dances, movie screenings and events for all ages, including a Saturday family day at the Children’s Museum & Theater of Maine from 10 a.m.-noon.
A community kickball tournament at Back Cove Park on Sunday from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. is for adults only, but children are invited to play other field games at the park, Barkley said.
All are invited to a 5 p.m. community picnic Monday, June 15, at Fort Allen Park, which includes live music. The Pride Festival will feature a family center in Deering Oaks Park with face-painting, a bouncy house and other games and amusements.
More adult entertainment includes a “Great Gatsby”- themed kickoff party Friday at Grace Restaurant, 15 Chestnut St., and a Saturday screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” – with live actors, too – at One Longfellow Square.
The “Rocky Horror” screening is sponsored by Maine Educationalists for Sexual Harmony, one of the new collaborations Barkley said is part of the Pride Portland growth.
MESH, founded about a year ago, seeks to “(re)build a stronger community united with sex-positive awareness,” according to its Facebook page.
Portland Pride events wrap up with a”Dance for Life” fundraiser at Port City Music Hall at 8 p.m. June 20, with proceeds for HIV and AIDS support and services, and a 12:30 p.m. tea dance at the Inn on Peaks Island on June 21.
“It is incredible, it feels really good,” Barkley said of the expanded celebration. “It is really about the hard work of all the volunteers who have been meeting since last August. It has been amazing to see it come together again.”
Hundreds of volunteers guide a 900-foot pride flag down High Street toward Deering Oaks Park during the 2014 Pride Portland parade.
An expanded Old Port Festival returns to Portland this week, with four days of entertainment.