Late-summer festivals & more

This month, enjoy a dance festival, compete in a paddle race and throw heavy objects at the Maine Highland Games

Paddle Battle. Photo by Amy Paradysz

Paddle Battle
Sunday, Aug. 5, 1 to 5 p.m. (race at 3 p.m.)
The Nonantum Resort, 95 Ocean Ave., Kennebunkport
If you can paddle it, you can race it in The Nonantum Resort’s annual Kennebunk river race. Kayak, canoe, SUP or surfboard, competitive or taking in the sights, whichever way you float it, this is a fun afternoon with live music, food and family activities on the resort’s back lawn after the race. Advance registration is $25 individual/$35 tandem; day of registration is $30. (

Bates Dance Festival Finale
Saturday, Aug. 4 at 7:30 p.m.
Bates College Alumni Gymnasium, Lewiston
Bates Dance Festival is a nexus of dance—and tickets to the finale performance are just $10 general admission. The show includes repertory pieces in jazz, modern, Afro-modern and hip hop performed by Bates Dance Festival Professional Training Program students and choreographed by a diverse group of dance artists. It’s a small venue, so be sure to buy tickets online in advance. (

Historic photo of Mary Harris “Mother” Jones. Courtesy photo

‘Mother Jones in Heaven’
Aug. 9–12
St. Lawrence Arts Center, 76 Congress St., Portland
You’ve probably heard of Mother Jones magazine, but perhaps not the infamous labor organizer Mary Harris “Mother” Jones for which the progressive magazine is named. This one-hour musical by Si Kahn and performed by Vivian Nesbitt (Breaking Bad) and John Dillon of the nationally syndicated radio show “Art of the Song” brings “Mother” Jones (1837–1930) to life in a compelling theatrical production on tour. Tickets are $25 (plus fees) via Brown Paper Tickets. Shows are at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and at 2 p.m. Sunday. (

Maine Highland Games. Photo by Amy Paradysz

Maine Highland Games
Saturday, Aug. 18
Topsham Fairgrounds, Topsham
The Scots love strong women. The annual Scottish Festival and Maine Highland Games at the Topsham Fairgrounds includes a full day of “heavy athletics” for both men and women (with different weight categories by gender). Events include the Braemer stone put, the heavy hammer and the sheaf toss. Basically, throw heavy objects for distance, height and accuracy—and have fun doing it. (

Superhero Lady Armwrestlers of Portland (SLAP!)
Saturday, Aug. 18, 8 p.m. to midnight
Port City Music Hall, Portland
Eight local lady armwrestlers make their entrances, each with a persona, entourage and theme song. During the single-elimination competition with an undercurrent of improv comedy, each entourage collects donations on behalf of their lady armwrestler. And the lady who fundraises the most for local charities wins the Crowd Favorite title. This is a night of entertainment you won’t soon forget. (

Designing Women Craft Show
Saturday Aug. 25, 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Longfellow’s Greenhouse, Manchester
Designing Women organizes five craft shows a year, each benefitting a different local community-minded nonprofit while bringing together some of the best art in New England—made by women, of course. A couple dozen artists designers, potters, jewelry makers, photographer and more—will be represented at this show in Manchester, benefitting the Sexual Assault Crisis & Support Center in Winthrop. (

Earthing Yoga
Wednesdays at 5:30 p.m. through Aug. 29
Eastern Prom, Portland
Earthing is a fast-growing movement based on the principle that connection with the earth is vital to our health. Explore earthing through OmBody Health’s free Earthing Yoga classes Wednesday nights on the Eastern Prom. These all-levels classes focus on connection with the earth, our bodies and each other through sensory awareness, movement, mindfulness and gratitude. Try going mat free! (

Amy Paradysz is a writer, editor and photographer who lives in Scarborough.

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