NORWAY — Food and farming and culture, oh my!
At least that’s what the organizers of the first-ever Foothills Food Festival hope attendees will exclaim when they visit the event this weekend. The festival is set from 1 to 9 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 13, in downtown Norway.
Many of the events will take place in the town square on Main Street across from the Norway Opera House and will overlap with Community Roots set for Saturday and Sunday at the nearby Alan Day Community Garden at 26 Whitman St.
“Local farming and food culture are rebounding in Maine after years of over-dependence on unsustainable industrial imports,” said Ken Morse of Community Food Matters. “These foothills are alive with this movement, and we’re celebrating the rich diversity of these agriculture and performing cultures at our first Foothills Food Festival.”
The festival is a project of Community Food Matters, which is housed at Center for Ecology-Based Economy (CEBE) in the Fare Share Commons on Main Street.
Sarah Carter, another festival organizer who works as a community nutrition educator for SNAP-Ed at Healthy Oxford Hills, said the festival will showcase and celebrate “all parts of the food system – people who make food, people who grow food, people who brew – all things related to agriculture.”
For those foodies out there, there will be a local spread to enjoy. Riverside Lodge (South Paris) will serve up artisan pizza, Cafe DiCocoa (Bethel) will feature Greek-themed and vegetarian food, along with garden creations from Anna Sysco, Fiddlestick Farm (Hanover) will offer its hand-made raviolis, Avalon Creamery (Otisfield) will scoop up its small-batch frozen custard, Alex’s Mexican Food Cart (Bethel) will roll in with spicy favorites and Little Jamaica – Portland’s Island Flava will bring its authentic Jamaican food.
A beer garden – organized by Norway Brewing Company and operated by Café Nomad – will serve brews from across the state in the fenced in area behind Green Machine Bike Shop at 419 Main St., which is the former Longley Hardware Store. Maine breweries include Norway Brewing Company (Norway), Pennesseewassee Brewing Company (Harrison), Sunday River Brewing (Newry), Bear Bones Beer (Lewiston), Sebago Brewing (Portland area), Bigelow Brewing (Skowhegan) and Branded Horn (Biddeford).
Fare Share Co-op, at the Fare Share Commons next to CEBE, will host tours of its market and have samples and information from Durgin Dairy (Norway), Harmony Farm (Harrison), Wee Bit Farm (Orland) and Rob Nichol’s mead.
Also behind Fare Share are the farmers’ market and Sprout children’s area. The farmers’ market will feature Ordway Grove (Norway), Black Mountain Farm (Sweden), Pie Tree Orchard (Sweden), Maple Springs Farm (Harrison), Edgewood Nursery (North Falmouth), Mid Ridge Farm (Casco) and Ryerson Gone Wild (West Paris) will sell Maine chaga, ramps, vegetables and various mushrooms. Main Street’s newest book store, Food for Thought, will have a table behind the co-op with food-related literature.
The Sprout area will include gardening, composting activity, feel and guess food game, mask making, story telling and a smoothie-making bike.
“It is very family friendly. There are tons of activities for kids,” Carter said.
CEBE will be the site of two different talks. The sidewalk along Main Street will feature resource tables, including representatives from Roberts Farm, Maine School Garden Network, Western Foothills Land Trust, Maine Farmland Trust, Maine SNAP-Ed, University of Maine Cooperative Extension and USDA’s Natural Resource Conservation Service.
Books N Things at 430 Main St. will host Maine author Kathy Eliscu, who will sign her book, “Not Even Chocolate Can Fix This Mess.”
No type of festival would be complete without a full slate of live entertainment.
“Between local bands, which is a pretty good spread of different kinds of music to really appeal to the whole family, there will be talks from farmers and folks with knowledge in our community,” Carter said. See the sidebar for the entertainment schedule.
There will be art for fest goers of all ages to create and Maine artist Jacinda Martinez will be in attendance. On nearby Deering Street, there will be face painting, tye-dying, hula hooping, food packaging musical instruments, paper maché Earth painting, corn hole, mask making and community poems.
Martinez will feature her Fashion in the Raw photographs of garments she created from food and will create a piece specially for the festival. 100 Aker Wood will offer 10-percent-off framing of her prints purchased during the festival.
Sponsors for the festival include Local Food Connection, Pie Tree Orchard, Wheeler’s Insurance, Cafe Nomad, Norway Savings Bank, Green Machine Bike Shop, Let’s Go! Oxford County and Woodman’s Sporting Goods. Supporters include Grassroots Graphics, Garbo-Kane Integrated Solar Builders, Swett Signs, Tractor Supply Company, Smedberg’s and Joel Speakman.
The rain date is Sunday, Aug. 14. If the festival is postponed, a post will be made on CEBE’s Facebook page by 8 a.m. Saturday.
Foothills Food Festival schedule
Performances featuring mostly homespun bands will be held in the town square across from the Norway Opera House on Main Street. Jack Gentempo will host these musicians and others, including:
1 p.m. – Emilia Dahlin sings mesmerizing tales with raw, rootsy folk and dynamic jazz vocals.
2 p.m. – Mark Lapping will speak about agricultural history and food renaissance.
2:30 p.m. – The Cobblestones play old favorites including soft rock, bluegrass, country and blues.
3:45 p.m. – Fits of Blue play electric music and blues.
5 p.m. – Oen Kennedy is a sing-song writer from Norway who makes music about the Earth.
6 p.m. – Dance performance by Nevaeh, recycled instrument jam, mask showcase, food magic and poem readings.
6:30 p.m. – The Youngerbloods from the Norway area play soul, funk and jazz band tunes.
7:45 p.m. – Singepole Mountain Band plays experimental, improvisational music based on rock, jazz, funk and blues.
Sprout children’s contests
The Sprout area is located behind Fare Share Co-op at 443 Main St.
1 p.m. – Cow Mooing Contest
2 p.m. – Egg Carry Contest
3 p.m. – Rooster Crowing Contest
4 p.m. – Juggling with food bean bags
6 p.m. – Prizes awarded on main stage
Center for the Ecology-Based Economy is located in the Fare Share Commons on Main Street.
2:30 p.m. – A conversation Mark Lapping, who is a university professor emeritus at the University of Southern Maine, founder of the Maine Food Strategy, co-author of “A New England Food Vision,” and has penned other publications on food and agriculture.
3:30 – A talk by Aaron Parker from Edgewood Nursery, which is a small plant nursery specializing in unusual edibles, including minor fruits, medicinal herbs, perennial vegetables and permaculture plants.