By Carol McCracken (Post # 1,882)
“We want to bring folks into Portland to see what we have here,” said Mayor Michael Brennan this morning at a press conference in the DiMillo’s Restaurant Parking Lot on Commercial Street. The purpose of the press conference was to formally announce plans for the expansion of the Old Port Festival – June 6 – 8, 2014.
The host organization for the weekend is Portland Downtown District of which Steve Hewins, its executive director, said: “This has been a completely collaborative effort. Everyone has been on board since the start.”
Jennifer Hutchins, executive director of Creative Portland, one of the collaborators said that part of the Friday Night Art Walk will be closed off – from Longfellow Square to Monument Square. There will be two new performances at Monument Square from Circus Conservatory of America, which is expected to make its new home at Thompson’s Point. John Spritz, of Grow Maine, announced that on Saturday, June 7th, the waterfront will be an “open house” – it’s an invitation to all to stretch your legs and enjoy the history and traditions of our waterfront through self-guided tours. It runs from 11:00 am – 3:00 pm. The self-guided tour will run from the Maine State Pier to Becky’s Diner on the western end of Commercial Street. And of course on Sunday, June 8th is the 41st annual Old Port Festival; highlighting over 100 vendors and needs no introduction.
One of the new features that Hewins announced is the presence of a 90 ft. high gondola ride that will be located inside DiMillo’s Restaurant parking lot. It’s comparable to a ferris wheel ride that is covered. It will be available all three days of the Festival.
“The one day event outgrew its boundaries. It became so crowded that some people stayed away,” said Hewins. “We want to bring those people back to the Old :Port weekend.”