SKOWHEGAN — Summer events that have taken place in Skowhegan for the past quarter century will be combined this year into one big summer festival, beginning Thursday and running through Sunday.

It’s Summer Fest 2011, presented by the Skowhegan Area Chamber of Commerce, with support from the Skowhegan Rotary Club and Main Street Skowhegan.

Events begin at 5:30 p.m. Thursday when Moonlight Madness returns to downtown. Friday will feature the annual Rotary Lobster Bake and the Chamber-sponsored Harvest Days Golf Tournament at Lakewood Golf Course on U.S. Route 201, north of town.

Saturday is the fourth annual Bike Night with a beer garden, live music and a motorcycle parade called “The Ride” to Augusta and back. On Sunday, Main Street will sponsor a “cruise-in” of antique cars and a jazz brunch from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Grist Mill in the former county jail. Bruch is $5.

Two art showcases by students from the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture will be on tap from 1-6 p.m. with 40 sculptors displaying their work at the Grist Mill and 20 painters displaying their work at the Covenant Reform Church on North Avenue.

Main Street Skowhegan Executive Director Jennifer Olsen said the Sunday events at the Grist Mill will feature cool jazz, hot rods and good food.

“This is the first year combining everything,” Chamber Executive Director Cory King said. “All five events have been done before, but never in succession. It’s a nice start of hopefully something that can become an annual thing and bring back a little of what Log Days was.”

Log Days was an event held every year in Skowhegan to mark the last log drive down the Kennebec River in the mid-1970s. Log Days was discontinued in 2002 after 27 years, taking Moonlight Madness with it, until it was briefly resurrected with Harvest Days by the Downtown Business Association in 2007, which later folded into Main Street Skowhegan.

Now they are both back. Again.

“The idea of combining the events is not only to help save on some expenses, but it also gives a nice feeling of something that’s happening — it’s a festival,” King said. “This is a great community here and it’s shown through being able to do such diverse events where golfers and motorcycles and antique cars come together with a whole litany of different things. It’s a nice way to prove that some of the best stuff in Maine isn’t necessarily on the edges — it’s in the heart of Maine.”

Moonlight Madness on Thursday night will features live bands downtown, food vendors, kids’ games, a dunk tank and a climbing wall. Surrey races and bed races down Water Street are set to begin at 6:30 p.m.

Friday’s lobster bake, also in the municipal parking lot, is scheduled to run from 11 a.m. – 8 p.m. Lobsters are $13 in advance and $15 at the door for single meals, with $23 and $25 for twin lobsters with all the summer fixings.

The golf tournament is set for 1 p.m.

The Ride for Bike Night departs at 1 p.m. from the parking lot, with music and bike contests starting at 4 p.m.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


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