Folk arts fave: Grand Lake Stream Folk Arts Festival is a downeast Maine treasure

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IMG_3862Maine has plenty of festivals, but my favorite is the Grand Lake Stream Folk Arts Festival, an all-round good-time event.

Here’s why it tops my list:

• It’s held on the ballfield in “downtown” Grand Lake Stream, which comprises a store, a school, and, well, that’s about it.

• It’s inexpensive ($5 per day or $8 for the weekend)

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• It’s a manageable size, with plenty of room for kids to run and dogs to roll.

• There’s always a display of antique and contemporary quilts and another of canoes.

• It’s within walking distance of the stream, a favorite with fly fishermen, as well as the dam and the lake.

DSC_1201• The artisans, usually more than 50, most of whom hail from Maine, are extremely talented and eager to share their knowledge.

• Food on the festival grounds is usually quite good.

• The GLS Guides Association puts on a chicken barbecue one night, a lobster feed the other.

• Since all exhibitors are under tents, it’s weather proof, too.

IMG_1587• The music. Live and all day long, including bluegrass, acoustic, and even brass. Trust me, you haven’t lived until you’ve heard a string band accompanied by a horn.

• And finally, it’s just a good time, relaxed in that way only Washington County, in way Down East Maine is.

Lodging usually books quickly. There are links on the festival site. Also consider Princeton, Calais, and even Eastport, about an hour distant.

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