Sure, it will likely be a bit congested and noisy at times with the construction going on, but anyone staying away from Hallowell this summer is going to regret missing out on great happenings, including some annual traditions while others, such as a “paint the street” block party, a “selfie” contest and a scavenger hunt, are new and unique events.

For those who may be unaware, “Hallowell is the grateful recipient of $4.5 million in funds for a Maine Department of Transportation road project to completely reconstruct Water Street, the main street through our downtown district,” according to Hallowell City Manager Nate Rudy. The project, which started in April, is expected to be largely complete by October of this year.

“Many of our downtown small businesses, residents and nonprofit organizations will be directly affected by this much needed but impactful event,” he added, “and in response, a small group of concerned citizens have formed a Down with The Crown planning and outreach effort to attract people to downtown …reminding everyone that Hallowell is open for business and excited for a great summer season.”

Extra parking has been made available, signage is in place to direct motorists as needed, while details and updates on progress, detours and new traffic patterns are readily available – you can even sign up for email alerts at

The construction is taking place on an expedited schedule: Mondays through Thursdays from sunrise to sunset, and Fridays from sunrise to 3 p.m. And plans are in place for a “ceasefire” roadwork break from June 29th through July 22nd. During that period of time, barriers will be removed so that the full width of Water Street will be accessible to vehicles, bicyclists and pedestrians. Since Old Hallowell Day always falls on the third Saturday in July, the celebration will go on as always this year, on July 21st (and some events, as usual, kicking off the festivities in advance). Visit for a complete schedule and other information as OHD approaches, including a few necessary logistical modifications this year.

Meanwhile, the colorful Adirondack chairs are out along the boardwalk beckoning visitors to Granite City Park; the Rail Trail is ready as always to welcome cyclists, walkers and strollers, and many businesses are offering specials to show their appreciation to their customers. The Hallowell Area Board of Trade is offering community events information as well as spotlighting the featured member business of the week on their website,


And not surprisingly, Hallowellians are continuing to show their support for each other and their hometown in countless ways. For instance, the Quarry Taproom will host a fundraiser on Saturday afternoon, June 30th, to support Jesse Tozier, a Hallowell volunteer firefighter who is giving the gift of life by donating one of his kidneys, as well as supporting Scott Baker, who is the grateful kidney recipient. There will be live music by the Boneheads; a live auction, a silent auction, prize raffles and a 50/50 drawing.

Another example: proceeds from the “Shoot Upward” garden tour on Saturday, July 14th from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. will go toward the installation of an elevator to provide accessibility to the proposed museum of Hallowell artifacts on the second floor of the old Town House and Fire Station. Featured local gardens include The Maine Accent, Lux, and the residences of Jane Paxton and Laura Benedict, as well as the landmark Vaughan Woods and Historic Homestead.

Speaking of the Homestead, their third annual Summer Garden Party will celebrate the season on June 23rd from 5-8 pm. This family-friendly event will offer guests a chance to unwind with friends, stroll the gardens, take in the view along with a bit of history, enjoy the classical guitar stylings of Ken Labreque, delicious hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar, watch artists at work and bid on unique handmade auction items and “wet paint” art! Ticket sales will support VWHH community programming and Vaughan Woods stewardship. Tickets and more information online at or call 622-9831.

Hallowell’s thriving cultural scene wouldn’t be the same without the superbly talented local performers of Gaslight Theater, offering Agatha Christie’s ‘Witness for the Prosecution’ June 15-17 and 22-24; followed by ‘Marriage is Murder’ by Nick Hall on August 24-26 & 31, and Sept. 1 & 2. All performances are upstairs in the painstakingly restored, elevator accessible Hallowell City Hall auditorium. More information, show times and ticket reservations are available at or via their Facebook page.

Similarly, downtown Hallowell wouldn’t be the same without The Harlow. In this summer of big changes downtown, the home of the Kennebec Valley Art Association (KVAA) has recently relocated just up the street to a spacious venue, at 100 Water Street. The move has not only allowed the organization to expand its gallery and workshop space but also to add the Harlow Craft Shop, offering a curated selection of locally handcrafted items for sale including pottery, woodwork, fiber and textiles, jewelry, books, prints, and more, all created by KVAA member artists and artisans.

An intriguing array of exhibits hosted by the Harlow this summer will include “Dog Days,” a light-hearted celebration of our canine companions, running July 6-14. Visitors will find a juried selection of “art that dogs would enjoy,” all displayed at dogs’ eye level. The opening reception will be held from 5 to 7 p.m. on Friday July 6th in tandem with the opening reception for the much-anticipated traditional KVAA Summer Members’ Show.

Well-behaved dogs (leashed, or carried) are welcome to attend the exhibition anytime following the reception during the gallery’s open hours: Wednesday through Saturday noon to 6 p.m. and Sundays, noon to 4 p.m. Gallery admission is free. More information can be found at or by calling 622-3813. The new Harlow location is easy to find at the north end of downtown, adjacent to the Hallowell bandstand.

The latter will be the place for young and old to gather once again to enjoy Rock on the River, back for the 22nd year, Tuesday evenings from 7 to 8:30 p.m., weather permitting. The open-air concerts, showcasing local talent and spanning a broad range of music styles, are offered at no charge. Feel free to bring a portable lawn chair or blanket; grab some takeout refreshments to-go from one of the downtown eateries, and make an evening of it. The series will run ten weeks, from June 19th to August 21st. Steve Vellani, legendary local musician and Rock on the River organizer, says that Alter Igor will kick off the season on June 19, with acts such as Boogie Mob, Scolded Dogs, All Night Rascals, Travis Humphrey and others filling out the remaining dates. “Don’t let the construction keep you away. Come have fun and dance with us this summer!”

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