May 18, 2024

On Saturday my wife and I took the kids downtown to check out the Bangor Sidewalk Art Festival. We had learned of it the day before through the City of Bangor’s Facebook page. This was definitely a spur-of-the-moment deal, and with 3 kids in tow, those moments don’t happen all that often in this household. Meticulous planning is the name of the game around here.

Music filled the air

We arrived not too long after the festival started and we were greeted by the sounds of a band up on stage in front of the library. The band, LVLGHTS, was totally rocking it out, and connecting with the crowd. They introduced one of their numbers as a song “we haven’t gotten around to writing lyrics for yet.” Whatever song that was, I would happily use it as a ringtone on my phone.

LVLGHTS kicked off the festival with some great tunes!

Plenty of art to see and buy

There was a wide variety of art on display. Jewelry, books, paintings, clothing, and pottery all caught my eye. But the thing that got me to open my wallet was a Gelli art set (brayer and plate) that totally mesmerized my middle child. One of the tents was run by author and illustrator Mary M. Preble who was kindly giving demonstrations of her artistic style using the Gelli art set. She made a card for my son with textures from a flip-flop sandal and potato masher. I didn’t notice she was selling the kit during that demonstration, but when I came back by to show my wife and other children the art, there it was, hanging beautifully and ready to be bought. Anything that can fire up my kids’ creativity like that… take my credit card please!

Music, music, and more music

We were also treated by the soothing strings of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra. They were playing both classical music and current pop songs re-imagined for stringed instruments. The latter was a wonderful surprise! While looking over some fabulous Native American art my ears picked up the sounds of what sounded like “Forget You” by CeeLo Green. That’s how you get a party rocking!

Bangor Symphony Orchestra filled the air with songs old and new

Plenty to do for the kids

Speaking of the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, they created what they’ve called an “instrument petting zoo”. They let the kids try out different instruments used in the orchestra and someone was on hand to answer questions the kids had. This was a great idea to get kids interested and thinking about getting involved in music.

My young man doing a great job coloring that section of branch

This was part of a large tent with other great activities for kids. They had a table where kids could create a tic-tac-toe set out of rocks and seashells. Another table let kids build a house out of blocks and then draw a picture of it. Kids could then put their name and parents’ contact information on it and enter it into a contest. (I don’t remember the prize.) Another station let kids color circular sections of a tree branch with markers. Another table let kids make their own bracelets and beads. This was the most popular tent of the festival by far.

Closing out with beautiful traditional song

As my wife and I wrangled the kids so we could head out, we were treated to the sounds of traditional Wabanaki drum and song performed by Firefly the Hybrid. His rich and powerful voice gave pause to the festival as the song washed over us like a wave. I couldn’t help but imagine that his song echoed through the ages as it was sung through the centuries by the Native Americans who lived and stood right where I was standing today. It was the perfect way to end our time at the Bangor Sidewalk Art Festival.