Looking for something to do this weekend? Here are a few choice food-related events happening throughout the state:
1) 35th Annibearsary Celebration
When: Thursday, June 26, 5:00 to 11:30 p.m.
Where: The Great Lost Bear, Portland
What: Known to locals as GLB or The Bear for short, this Forest Avenue institution opened in 1979 as the Grizzly Bear Restaurant. It was one of the first places in the area to serve locally made beers regularly—once they became available (D.L. Geary didn't release its Pale Ale until the end of 1986). The pub now has over 70 draft lines and shows up on every tourist's list of must-visit destinations. Tonight until close, GLB will feature Portland's many breweries, including Allagash and Sebago (with the women's beer group the Maine Beer Mavens), who have brewed special beers for the occasion. Expect drink specials, giveaways, and a who's who of area beer personalities mixed in with regulars. The kitchen will close at 9:30 p.m. "so the crew can join the party," but free food will continue to sate customers until close.
1) Strawberry Festivals and Pick-Your-Own
When: All weekend, various times
Where: Multiple locations throughout the state
What: Ever wonder why strawberries from away are so disappointing? Unlike, say, bananas, strawberries don't continue to ripen after they've been picked, but when fruit is good and ripe it's hell to transport—so berries from away get harvested at prime shipping time, rather than prime eating time. Hence Maine's obsession with its two short strawberry harvests (the second comes late in the summer). The Press Herald has the lowdown on "Where to fill up on Maine strawberries," including the 39th Annual New Gloucester Strawberry Festival, the 3rd Annual Cornish Strawberry Festival, and too many more to list here. If you prefer to DIY and celebrate privately, the list also includes pick-your-own locations. Do you make shortbread, preserves, or just eat them straight?
1) Portland Pancake Day
When: Sunday, June 29, 9 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Where: Congress Square Park, Portland
What: SPACE Gallery is serving up free pancakes on Sunday in Congress Square Park, the little urban plaza with a big influence on city policy. The event description is brief to the point of mysterious, because aside from the smile-inducing proclamation of free pancakes, "What else is there to say?" Could this become Portland's own Nutella Cronut Hole Apocalypse?
1) Taste of the Nation
When: Sunday, June 29, General Admission 4:30 to 8:00 p.m., VIP 3:00 to 8:00 p.m.
Where: Fort Williams Park, Cape Elizabeth
What: Featuring food from dozens of the best chefs in the state, an open bar with local craft beer, wine, and cocktails, plus dancing, live music, and a silent auction, Taste of the Nation is a fundraiser for Share Our Strength's No Kid Hungry Campaign. There are also local beneficiaries, including Cultivating Community, Opportunity Alliance, Good Shepherd Food Bank, and Preble Street Teen Center. General Admission is $125, while VIP tickets cost $200 and include a special reception. The Facebook event page includes additional info.
1) Family Feast on the Farm
When: Monday, June 30, 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Where: The Well at Jordan's Farm, Cape Elizabeth
What: Expand your definition of "weekend" and feast on a Monday. Continuing to celebrate his Indonesian heritage through pop-up dinners, Thomas Pisha-Duffly will prepare a locally-sourced, multi-course meal amidst the growing produce at Jordan's Farm. Front of house team leader Mariah Pisha-Duffly and Eventide Oyster Co. bartender John R. Meyers will pair drinks with each course, while Briana Holt of Tandem Coffee Roasters will supply desserts and coffee service. Tickets are $100.