Portland sails into summer with races, Old Port Festival

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PORTLAND — Summer in the city begins this weekend by land and by sea.

Summer Kickoff Weekend, sponsored by Portland Downtown, begins Friday, June 8, and is capped two days later by the 45th annual Old Port Festival.

Coinciding with the festivities is the Atlantic Cup, which features 11 sailing teams racing in Casco Bay, with the start and finish just off Fort Allen Park.

The events begin with the Square Hop, four live shows in city parks from 6-8 p.m. Friday, June 8.

The Maine Marimba Ensemble will play in Post Office Park on Middle Street. Casco Bay Movers will appear in Monument Square, while musicians from the Maine Academy of Modern Music will play in Congress Square. In Longfellow Square, PortFringe will take the stage.

On Saturday, June 9, from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., the fifth annual Walk the Working Waterfront invites visitors to tour local businesses on Commercial Street from the Maine State Pier to Becky’s Diner. The more than 30 participating businesses can be found at  https://bit.ly/2JekxQc.

Just off the waterfront, shoppers can support the Frannie Peabody Center during the Shop for a Cause Day, also on June 9. More than 20 locally owned businesses will donate a portion of sales to the Center, which provides support, counseling and housing for people with HIV and AIDS and their families.

Visit https://bit.ly/2rEXt4y for participating businesses.

On Sunday, June 10, the 45th annual Old Port Festival begins with the traditional parade down Exchange Street, led by creations from Shoestring Theater.

Following the parade and until 5 p.m., Old Port streets will feature vendors, children’s games, food and live music. The list of performers and stages can be found at https://bit.ly/2qAQIRo.

Atlantic Cup

Sailors competing in the Atlantic Cup began racing May 26, in a first leg from Charleston, South Carolina, to New York City. From there, it was on to Portland, with teams expected to arrive by Monday, June 4.

The third and final leg of racing is inshore and lasts two days, beginning at 10 a.m. June 9 and 10. Between races, boats will be moored at the Maine State Pier.

On Thursday, June 7, the teams will host local students on Kids Day. During the racing, Fort Allen Park, adjacent to the Eastern Promenade, will become the Atlantic Cup Racing Village and feature live race commentary, food trucks, live music, interactive children’s activities and a beer garden.

Team winners will be honored in an awards presentation June 10 at 5 p.m. 

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

Crowds converge on Fore and Exchange streets during the Old Port Festival in 2017. The 45th annual festival begins at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 10, in Portland.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.