While it certainly wasn’t the harshest winter we’ve had to endure, we’re no less enthusiastic about the arrival of spring in Maine.

Bring on the longer days, the surprise purple crocuses, the soft serve cones from Red’s Dairy Freeze, and the sounds of a wooden bat making contact with a wicked curve ball at Hadlock Field.

Here are 11 ways to celebrate the gateway to warmer weather while the state is still mostly free of tourists and the forests and lakes slowly come to life.

Tyler McDonough and Phillip Sikes of the Portland Sea Dogs celebrate after McDonough crosses home plate at Hadlock Field last August. Anna Chadwick/Staff Photographer

Portland Sea Dogs Opening Weekend
April 5-7. Hadlock Field, 271 Park Ave., Portland, $13 to $20. portlandseadogs.com
It’s the 30th anniversary of the Portland Sea Dogs, and Slugger is ready to celebrate. The season-opening series has our boys facing off against the Hartford Yard Goats. Bundle up, because April baseball can be chilly. If you’re holding tickets for the Opening Day game Friday, try to arrive early,  because the first 1,000 fans to enter Hadlock will receive a golden Slugger Hall of Fame bobblehead. Swing batter, batter!

Spring Fest Weekend
April 5-7. Sunday River. 15 South Ridge Road, Newry. sundayriver.com
Regardless of the skiing and snowboarding conditions, there’s a world of fun to be had at Sunday River’s annual Spring Fest Weekend. For three days, it’s all about music, including a Friday night disco party where ’70s attire could win you prizes.  There will be music all day on Saturday, starting with an 11 a.m. DJ set and live sets later in the day from ’90s and 2000s covers band Hello Newman, party tunes from Tickle, and country tunes from Chase Jobe & The Running Kind. The festivities wrap up on Sunday with a DJ, Grateful Dead covers from Terrapin Orchestra, and an acoustic set from Toby McAllister. Add to that painkiller cocktails, BBQ and other food stations, and you’re in for a heck of a good time.

A total solar eclipse is happening on April 8 and much of Maine should be able to see at least some of it. AlexLMX/Shutterstock.com

Great American Eclipse
3:28 p.m. April 8. Statewide. visitmaine.net
Turn around, bright eyes, because the total solar eclipse is happening, and Maine is one of the best states to view it from. Houlton has front row seats, many parts of Maine are in the path of totality, while the entire state should at least be able to experience a partial eclipse. This all happens on a Monday, so make a plan to be outside wherever you are. Eclipse glasses are recommended and can be purchased at greatamericaneclipse.com, among other places.


Reggae Fest 
April 11-14. Sugarloaf, 5092 Access Road, Carrabassett Valley. sugarloaf.com
This year marks the 36th anniversary of Reggae Fest at Sugarloaf. There will be four days of reggae tunes and a whole lot of parties on the outdoor patio known as The Beach, and at bar and restaurants The Widowmaker, King Pine Room and Bullwinkle’s. Along with reggae DJs, you’ll hear live performances from John Brown’s Body and Long Beach Dub All Stars. Need a break from all the music and fun? It’s mighty handy that you’ll be at the Loaf, where spring skiing and snowboarding will be available. Make your way back to Carrabassett Valley on April 20 for the East Coast Pond Skimming Championship.

There will be plenty to eat and drink during the 5th annual Taco & Tequila crawl in Portland on April 27. BestStockFoto/Shutterstock.com

Taco & Tequila Crawl
3-8 p.m. April 27. Portland locations, $22.99, $39.99 VIP. eventbrite.com
Few things are meant for each other more than tacos and tequila, and you can get your fill of both during the fifth annual Taco & Tequila crawl organized by Bonfire Country Bar in Portland and national event presenters, The Taco Crawl. Once you buy a ticket, you’ll get details about the registration party and a map to at least five participating bars in Portland. You’ll also get taco tokens that you can use at each location. Each spot will offer margaritas, beer and tequila shots at a special price for crawlers. Some of the places will have DJs for your dancing pleasure, and a photographer will be snapping candids to document all the fun you’re having. Plus, this will get you ready for Cinco de Mayo, which is just eight days later.

One of the giant Guardians of the Seeds wooden trolls made by Thomas Dambo at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay. Shutterstock

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens season opening
9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily starting on May 1. Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. 105 Botanical Gardens Drive, Boothbay, $24, $20 seniors and veterans, $15 students, $10 for 3-17,  free for under 3. mainegardens.org
It’s always a sensory-pleasing experience to roam the nearly 300 acres of Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens. From giant wooden trolls to countless native Maine and regional plants to a waterfall and butterfly house, the gardens have been welcoming visitors since 2007. You’ll smell salt air and see an entire mile of tidal saltwater frontage as you keep an eye out for birds and lose yourself in the magic of the landscape. There’s also a cafe and gift shop, and you’ll be a stone’s throw from Boothbay Harbor, with many restaurants and shops.

Shriners race along Main Street during Kennebunk’s Annual May Day Festival Parade. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

May Day
May 4. Downtown Kennebunk locations. kennebunkmaine.us
The town of Kennebunk sure loves the first Saturday in May. The May Day Festival is jam-packed with family-friendly events and activities, and all are welcome. Schedule highlights include a pancake breakfast, food trucks, a lobster toss, farmers market, book sale and kids’ activities. Be sure to catch the parade featuring legendary Shriners’ miniature cars, a bunch of floats, a marching band, and an array of entertaining mascots.

Maine Pottery Tour
May 4. Statewide pottery and ceramics studios. mainepotterytour.org
If you love Maine-made pottery, the Maine Pottery Tour is a can’t-miss opportunity to visit dozens of them across the state. Now in its 12th year, the tour features participating artists who welcome visitors into their creative spaces to see kilns, watch demonstrations and, of course, shop for pottery. There’s a downloadable map on the tour’s website, so you can make a plan. Greater Portland studios include Tall Pines Pottery at 356 Brook St. in Westbrook, Lacey Pots at 78 Merrill St. in Portland, and C & M Ceramics at 15 Holly St. in Scarborough.

All Roads Music Festival
May 17 & 18. Downtown Belfast locations, $10 for opening and closing party and youth pass, $45 Saturday pass, $80 VIP pass. allroadmusicfest.org
Downtown Belfast comes alive with the sound of music on a Friday and Saturday in mid-May with the annual All Roads Music Festival, presented by arts nonprofit Launchpad. The focus of All Roads is indie music of many stripes, and it features some of Maine’s most popular bands. Shows take place at a handful of venues, all within walking distance of each other. This year’s lineup dazzles with Caroline Cotter, The Mallett Brothers Band, Weakened Friends, GoldenOak, Kenya Hall, Rigometrics, Myles Bullen and a few dozen more. There’s also a Maine songwriters’ circle featuring Gina Alibrio, Cody Landry, Dilly Dilly and Becca Biggs.

Crowds turn out for the opening night of Congdon’s After Dark. Gregory Rec/Staff Photographer

Opening Night at Congdon’s After Dark
4-8 p.m. May 23. Congdon’s After Dark, 1100 Post Road (Route 1), Wells. On Facebook.
Congdon’s After Dark is a food truck park that opened in 2017 and continues to gain popularity. The park features a rotating schedule of between eight and 10 food trucks to satisfy many appetites, and there’s also a beer garden where you’ll find plenty of Maine brews as well as cocktails and wine. The regular schedule is Thursday through Sunday from May 23 to June 30, and then daily from July 1 until Labor Day. Fun fact: The park is right next to Congdon’s Doughnuts, which is open Thursday through Sunday from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Congdons have been making doughnuts since 1945, and their current menu includes maple raised, Bavarian cream and chocolate coconut, among many others.

Sandy River Music Festival
May 25 & 26. Narrow Gauge Amphitheater, 123 Narrow Gauge Square, Farmington, $35 per day, $60 weekend pass. whistlestopconcertseries.com
Here’s a chance to spend part of Memorial Day weekend taking in live music in a Farmington field among woods and mountains. The Sandy River Music Festival features two days of live Americana, bluegrass, folk, singer-songwriter and rock music from a first-rate lineup of acts, including Lady Lamb, Della Mae, Griffin William Sherry, Ballroom Thieves and Rigometrics. Come for one day or both, and to make it all the move immersive, Narrow Gauge Amphitheater offers on-site camping with a pair of huge fire pits and tent rentals available. Check in on Saturday, and you can stay put until Monday. It’s a five-minute walk into downtown Farmington, where you’ll find all sorts of places to eat, drink and shop.

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