01 / Brass Venture
Drawing on classics and contemporary pieces, Boston’s acclaimed all-brass chamber outfit continues a long tradition of kicking off the Bar Harbor Music Festival, now in its 48th season. June 29–July 27. 8 p.m. $15–$25. Bar Harbor Congregational Church, 29 Mount Desert St. 207-288-5744. barharbormusicfestival.org
02 / Billy Elliot
Elton John wrote the music for this Broadway adaptation of the hit movie, in which a young man chases ballet dreams against the backdrop of labor clashes in Thatcher’s England. June 25–July 26. 8 p.m. $39–$67. The Ogunquit Playhouse, 10 Main St. 207-646-5511. ogunquitplayhouse.org
03 / Blue Hill Pops
Steel drums, Dixieland jazz, a nine-piece R&B outfit — the sheet-music archivists at Blue Hill’s Bagaduce Music Lending Library know how to let their hair down. 7:30 p.m. $10–$40. George Stevens Academy, 23 Union St., Blue Hill. 207-374-5454. bagaducemusic.org
04 / Eastport July 4
Why do so many people head way up to Eastport for its annual Independence Day festival? It’s not just for the codfish relay race, where sprinters in saggy waders run with a slippery, oil-soaked fish. And it’s not just for the chowder feed or the adorable children’s doll, wagon, and bike parade. Maybe it’s because of the spirit of community-wide optimism that The Atlantic noted last December, when it dubbed Eastport “The Little Town That Might” in a long, glowing profile. Or maybe it’s because of what festival co-chair Barbara Hicks calls “the hometown feel” of the festival. “Our Fourth of July celebration goes back more than 100 years,” she says, and since it’s also a homecoming week for far-flung Eastport natives, “it’s a big family tradition as well as a commercial-type event.” With one of the state’s best fireworks displays, Eastport also excels at the oldest Fourth tradition of them all.
July 2–5. Free. Eastport. 207-853-2930. eastport4th.com
05 / Summer Kick-Off BBQ
Maine Huts & Trails hosts a party with live music, hot dogs, burgers, and beers, and you can mark the start of trail season with some post-lunch mountain biking. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. $12. Sugarloaf Outdoor Center, 5092 Access Rd., Carrabassett Valley. 207-265-2400. mainehuts.org
06 / Bethel Art Fair
Artists in every medium crowd the town green for a weekend of live entertainment, art raffles, and even a show-within-a-show for “Shy, Novice & Closeted” artists. July 5–6. Free. Town Common, Bethel. 207-824-3575. mahoosucarts.org
07 / Andrew Wyeth: The Linda L.Bean Collection
Lobster purveyor Linda Bean has assembled an impressive collection of work by Maine’s first family of realist painting — Andrew, yes, but also N.C. and Jamie. These pieces are on exhibit for the first time. June 26–October 31. $10. Ogunquit Museum of American Art, 543 Shore Rd., Ogunquit. 207-646-4909. ogunquitmuseum.org
08 / The Wyeths, Maine and Sea
Your Wyeth education continues, now with an emphasis on Maine’s maritime history, pairing Wyeth family paintings with model ships, a historic figurehead, and nautical works by Robert Salmon and James Babbidge. April 26–December 31. $12. 16 Museum St., Rockland. 207-596-6457. farnsworthmuseum.org
09 / Chamberlain: A Civil War Romance
History wonks, meet musical theater nerds. Maine’s professor turned hero general gets the biopic treatment, with dance numbers. June 25–July 12. $45–$63. Pickard Theater at Bowdoin College, 22 Elm St., Brunswick. 207-725-8769. msmt.org
10 / Living History Tours
Encounter costumed reenactors at Livermore’s Civil War–era homestead during walking tours of the Washburn family mansion, town library, one-room schoolhouse, and historic carriage trail. Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, July–August. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. $6–$10. Washburn Norlands Living History Center, 290 Norlands Rd., Livermore. 207-897-4366. norlands.org
11 / Books in Boothbay
The midcoast’s summer book fair kicks off with a special 10th anniversary reception on Friday night, followed by a Saturday festival of readings, author panels, and book signings from writers in every genre, from children’s books to bestselling novels. Through July 12. Free. Boothbay Railway Village, 586 Wiscasset Rd., Boothbay. booksinboothbay.blogspot.com
12 / Moxie Festival
The marquee event at this annual celebration of all things Moxie (if you ask us, anyway) is the Moxie Chug-N-Challenge, where competitors who fear no sugar high race to drain the most orange cans in two minutes. We caught up with reigning champion Beau Bradstreet of Bridgewater, the 33-year-old Sugar Ray Robinson of sugary soft drinks.
You’ve won this competition three years running. Are you normally a Moxie fan?
I’m a regular Moxie drinker, but I dilute it a little bit with Canadian whiskey. Three cans of Moxie will knock off a half gallon of Black Velvet.
I had no idea. You drank nine cans in two minutes last year. How? Do you train?
You have to have a tough receptacle to hold it all. I do it up at camp with beer. I’ve got a funnel that holds a 12-pack of beer, and I can funnel a 12-pack in about 45 seconds.
Wow. Do you even taste that ninth can of Moxie?
Sure, it still has the same burn, the same bite. You’ve got to have a taste for it.
Could you do it with a drink you didn’t like?
I don’t know. There’s not much I won’t drink.
What about grape soda?
I like grape soda.
Really? You must dislike something.
Okay, could you do it with Heineken?
Does your family come to cheer you on?
Sure, it’s an awesome family time. When I was up on the stage last year, I could hear my 4-year-old boy’s little voice. He had a can of Moxie under his arm, and he pointed up and said, “That’s my dad up there.” That makes it all worth it.
July 11–13. Free. Lisbon Falls. 207-992-8997. moxiefestival.com
13 / North Atlantic Blues Festival
West Coast ensemble The Mannish Boys and electric blues stalwart Joe Louis Walker headline two days of blues, gospel, soul, and zydeco. July 12–13. $25/day. Harbor Park, Rockland. 207-691-2248. northatlanticbluesfestival.com
14 / Central Maine Egg Festival
Come out of your shell and check out the world’s largest (300 pounds) frying pan, the dog costume contest, and the quiche and cheesecake bake-offs at this egg-centric street party. Through July 19. Pittsfield. pittsfield.org
15 / Maine International Film Festival
The Waterville Opera House and Railroad Square Cinema host nearly 100 films from all over the world, including an experimental film section that blends film, art, and performance. Filmmaker Q&As bring the audience behind the cameras. July 11–20. Waterville. 207-861-8138. miff.org
16 / Maine Potato Blossom Festival
With potato blossoms in full bloom all across Aroostook County, spud lovers gather for tractor pulls, pet pageants, mashed potato wrestling, and yeah, plenty of tater tots. July 12–20. Free. Fort Fairfield. 207-472-3802. potatoblossom.org
17 / Camille A. Brown & Dancers
Who is “Mr. TOL E. RAncE”? The answer lies somewhere in between Amos and Andy, The Jeffersons and the rappers now so influential in pop culture. The Bates Dance Festival presents the renowned Brown and company as they explore media images of African American performers. 7:30 p.m. Schaeffer Theatre, Bates College. $12-$25. batesdancefestival.org
18 / Yarmouth Clam Festival
Once you’ve had your fill of steamers and chowder (and pie and lobster rolls and lime rickeys), hang out for an arts and crafts show, shucking contest, live music, and more. Through July 20. Free. 207-846-3984. clamfestival.com
19 / New England Forest Rally
Fans of auto racing (and dirt) crowd into raucous spectating areas to cheer rally cars tearing through the woods, then decamp to Rally Village for parties and BBQs. July 18–19. Sunday River, Newry. newenglandforestrally.com
20 / Maine Lobster Ride & Roll
Bicycling magazine called the Lobster 100-miler one of the top century races in the country for its rugged coastal scenery, but don’t worry — there are four lesser-distance options for the less hardcore. $95. Oceanside High School, Rockland. 207-623-4511.
21 / Shanghai Quartet
Regular Carnegie Hall performers the Shanghai Quartet take their turn in the Bowdoin International Music Festival, a month-long project that sees respected chamber ensembles rotating through Beethoven’s complete string quartets. The festival program also includes several premieres and commissions. June 28–August 9. 7:30 p.m. Crooker Theater, 116 Maquoit Rd., Brunswick. 207-725-3895. bowdoinfestival.org
22 / Shakespeare in the Park: As You Like It
The seventh year of Fenix Theatre Company’s essential productions of Shakespeare in the Park brings us As You Like It, one of the Bard’s most quoted plays. We asked artistic director Rob Cameron to help us interpret some of the show’s more esoteric lines.
All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players
Shakespeare reminds us that life is a great comedy . . . and a tragedy. We all play various roles at different points in our lives — laughing, crying, “mewling and puking” our way along.
As all is mortal in nature, so is all nature in love mortal in folly
Just as everything that lives will someday die, everyone who loves will someday make a fool of themselves.
Men are April when they woo, December when they wed
When you’re dating, he arrives to take you dancing, dressed to impress. When you’re married, he sleeps through date night on the couch, potato chip crumbs on his chest.
Truly thou art damned, like an ill-roasted egg, all on one side
Back in the day, eggs were roasted in ashes and constantly turned to avoid burning. In jest, Touchstone the clown tells Corin he’ll essentially burn in the fires of hell, like an egg that doesn’t get turned. That’s comedy, folks! I had to look this one up.
Through August 9. 6:30 p.m. Deering Oaks, Portland. fenixtheatre.com
23 / Giuseppe Verdi’s Rigoletto
PORTopera puts a 20th-century spin on Verdi’s famous opera, a sort of tragic love triangle among a licentious duke, a sharp-tongued jester, and his beautiful daughter. Bring tissues. July 23 and 25. 7:30 p.m. $41–$105. Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland. 207-879-7678. portopera.org
24 / Gogol Bordello
Manhattan’s hard-touring, eight-member Gypsy punk outfit has long since surpassed the status of a novelty band, whipping audiences into a frenzy with loud and fast tunes out of Eastern Europe via CBGB. 8 p.m. $25–$30. State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland. 800-745-3000. statetheatreportland.com
25 / Maine Quilts 2013
Shop a quilters’ mall, watch quilting demonstrations, and drop in on a traveling exhibit from the New England Quilting Museum to learn the stories that accompany dozens of detailed works. Through July 27. $10. Augusta Civic Center, 76 Community Dr. 207-216-7358. mainequilts.org
26 / Tough Mountain Challenge
Sunday River’s own spectator-friendly, obstacle-laden mud run sees participants scrambling up ledges, dodging water cannons, and climbing walls, all in the name of fun. $89. Sunday River, Newry. 207-824-3000. toughmountain.com
27 / Christmas in July
Gather ’round for the annual lighting of the Nubble Light at Cape Neddick and raise a glass of eggnog to Santa’s midsummer arrival (aboard a York Beach fire truck, naturally). 8 p.m. Free. Sohier Park, York. 207-363-1040. parksandrec.yorkmaine.org
28 / Richard Estes’ Realism
You’ll want to step inside the hyper-realist paintings of part-time Mainer Richard Estes, some of which capture striking scenes along the Maine coast. A collaborative exhibit with the Smithsonian American Art Museum. May 22–September 7. $12. Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Sq., Portland. 207-775-6148. portlandmuseum.org
29 / Bangor State Fair
The lumberjack shows, motorcycle races, and livestock expos are great, but this classic fair is all about the fair food: Don’t fear the fried. July 25–August 3. $7–$12. 100 Dutton St., Bangor. 207-947-5555. bangorstatefair.com
30 / Maine Lobster Festival
Aside from the civic pride it elicits, the main thing separating the Maine Lobster Festival from any old small-town fair is the sheer scale of lobster preparation and consumption that’s involved. A few shell-rattling numbers:
Number of previous Maine Lobster Festivals: 67
Cost of all-you-can-eat lobster at the first Maine Lobster Festival in 1947: $1
Cost of a single lobster at last year’s fest: $12.50
Approximate amount of lobster served at the festival: 20,000 pounds
Amount of butter served up alongside: 1,700 pounds
Number of cooking tubs on the festival’s “world’s largest lobster cooker,” christened in 2008: 8
Time it takes each one to cook 150 pounds of lobster: < 20 minutes
Approximate amount of lobster the old cooker boiled in 30 years of use: 500,000 pounds
Through August 3. $2–$8, free on Sunday. Harbor Park, Rockland. 800-LOB-CLAW. mainelobsterfestival.com
31 / Iris DeMent
The Arkansas-born roots singer scored a hit with her 2012 Sing the Delta, but DeMent has been around for years, singing duets with the likes of John Prine, Steve Earle, and Emmylou Harris. 8 p.m. $30. Stone Mountain Arts Center, 695 Dug Way Rd., Brownfield. 866-227-6523. stonemountainartscenter.com