12th annual Fish Ladder Alewife Festival in May

Music and magic will be in the air in Damariscotta Mills
Posted:  Sunday, May 5, 2019 - 7:45am
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Live music by local groups and musicians will fill the air from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 25 during the 12th annual Damariscotta Mills "Alewife Festival."

Celebrating the arrival of the Damariscotta River's little fishes and the restoration of the historical fish ladder that the alewives traverse each spring from the saltwater bay to the freshwater lake, at 10:15 a.m., Sylvia Tavares will be performing the alewife song "Journey to the Lake" that she wrote about the fish ladder restoration project. The official opening of the 2019 Alewife Festival will take place at 10 a.m. when John Adams sings the "Star Spangled Banner."

Throughout the day stop by the entertainment stage located under the big tent in the Fish House parking lot in order to listen to your favorite musicians and groups perform an eclectic mix of folk music and more. Tap your feet, sing along, and dance to the tunes as you enjoy a beverage, oysters, fish eye ice cream, and delicious food.

Here’s the lineup: Rivers Edge - 10:15 - 11 a.m a creative blend of folk, pop classics, country and originals with Sylvia Tavares and Gary McCue;  Ale House String Band - 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. playing traditional tunes and covers of popular folk music their "chamber folk" style is a unique, melding the theory and techniques of classical music with traditional folk styles with Oren Robinson, April Reed-Cox and Brian Dunn;  Jud Caswell - 12:45 - 1:45 p.m. - a little bit like a one-man folk band, you've got banjo picking, your Irish drinking songs, a rack of acoustic instruments and a deep catalog of award winning original songs and tunes;  Well Seasoned - 2:15 - 3:15 p.m. - a group of Midcoast musicians dedicated to playing a broad range of American folk music on acoustic instruments. Their repertoire covers an eclectic spectrum of folk and the blues, with Pixie Lauer - a singer-songwriter and dedicated “folkie,” Dan Townsend, Del Merritt and Judy Nielsen;  Caroline Cotter - 3:30 - 5 p.m. - with a captivating soprano voice and award winning songwriting. Caroline's songs take listeners all over the world and into the depths of the human heart. The artist notes that, “The real thread of the 2018 album "Home On The River" is the peace with being on a journey and carrying my home with me, rather than finding comfort from home in the traditional sense."  Currently on tour Cotter was a finalist for the 2018 No Depression Singer-Songwriter Award.

On the Alewives Fabrics lawn from 3 - 4 p.m., "Mr. Tricks" Dana Perkins, professional ventriloquist, puppeteer, juggler and magician will present a family friendly show filled with tricks and dialogues that are sure to put a smile on everyone's face.

The Alewife Festival Planning Committee invites  writers, local artists, crafters, and community members to consider making a donation to the festival’s silent auction.  In the past, auction items have included framed photos, handmade quilts, antique fish prints, collectibles, pottery and other crafts – all with a focus on the local area or with an alewife, fish-related theme.  If you have an item that you, your business or organization would like to donate, please call Betty Lu Brydges at 207-832-1566. All silent auction donations are greatly appreciated and are tax deductible.

For runners and walkers there will be the opportunity to run with the Alewives. What better way to celebrate the running alewives than with a 5K run?   On the morning of Saturday May 25, 2019 please join us for a healthy community run that includes cash prizes, professional timing and a gorgeous course along the Salt Bay! Pre-register at http://running4free.com/RaceDetails.aspx?raceid=478 Discounts for runners under 14 and for local school track teams.  For questions or more information, please email Bob Barkalow at bob.barkalow@gmail.com

Our community's one day Festival is filled with fun, laughter, adventures, live music and puppeteer, fish printing, face painting, educational exhibits, a touch tank courtesy of the Darling Marine Center, and the famous osprey game. There’s plenty of food to choose from: breakfast sandwiches, hamburgers and hot dogs, crab and lobster rolls. And there’s more: goods and gear sale, a bake sale, a silent auction (with a local artists flair).

And, of course, the historic fish ladder which features the stars of the day - the alewives and the river from which they travel to the lake where they migrate to their historical spawning grounds to tantalize and intrigue the entire family. Alewives viewing will be ongoing throughout the weekend  up and down the beautifully restored fish ladder! Stay in touch with this year’s festival and fish ladder happenings by going to and bookmarking https://damariscottamills.org/