October’s Brightness

It’s time to celebrate the bounty of Maine’s harvest (on the harbor) and put the garden to bed (here’s an idea to do so while celebrating women). It’s also National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Fish talk
Oct. 3
Maine Audubon, 20 Gilsland Farm Road, Falmouth
Did you know that for 70 years, starting in 1912, the first salmon caught in the Penobscot River every spring was presented to the president, at the White House? Bangor author Catherine Schmitt (The President’s Salmon: Restoring the King of Fish and its Home Waters) will talk about the history of Atlantic salmon in Maine, including efforts to regulate and restore the fishery. ($12 members, $15 general public; maineaudubon.org)

Walk for a cause
Oct. 6, 20 and 27
October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month and the American Cancer Society has three group walks planned in its Making Strides program. On Oct. 6, Making Strides is in Brunswick at 11 a.m., on Oct. 20 there’s a Making Strides at Fort Williams Park in Cape Elizabeth at 10:30 a.m., and on Oct. 27 an afternoon walk is planned for 2 p.m. in Damariscotta. These noncompetitive events let you pick your distance and your pace. Slow walker? Go for it; the event won’t be over until the last person crosses the finish line. The idea is to fundraise, celebrate survivors and remember any loved ones you’ve lost to the disease. Proceeds fund research and education around prevention and early detection. Donate or find a team online at makingstrides.acsevents.org and for more information, call 1–800–227–2345.

Crowds gather at a recent Harvest on the Harbor. Photo courtesy of Harvest on the Harbor

Harvest on the Harbor
Oct. 17–20
Brick South, 8 Thompson’s Point, Portland
Harvest on the Harbor is at Thompson’s Point in Portland this year. Events include a 10-course lobster luncheon/competition, an evening party loaded with Maine’s craft distilleries and an oyster fest. (harvestontheharbor.com)

Entrepreneurs panel
Oct. 22, 4:30 p.m.
Hannaford Hall, University of Southern Maine, 88 Bedford St., Portland
The Maine Women’s Fund hosts this Women Mean Business event, Small and Mighty: How Business Entrepreneurs Overcome Obstacles and Accelerate Maine’s Economy, focuses on entrepreneurship, featuring successful Maine businesswomen with stories to tell. ($10 students, $35 general admission; mainewomensfund.org/events)

Speaking engagement
Oct. 24, 7 p.m.
Port City Music Hall, 504 Congress St., Portland
Susan E. Rice, President Barack Obama’s former national security advisor and U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, is coming to Portland’s Port City Music Hall. The Maine homeowner will speak and sign the book she’s publishing this month, Tough Love: My Story of the Things Worth Fighting For. Rice will talk about her ancestral legacies, her work in government and the lessons of tough love she got at an early age that helped her compete and excel as an African American woman. The evening is presented by Print: A bookstore. (Tickets start at $35 and include a copy of the book; ticketmaster.com)


Sara Lennon does not consider herself a gardener. But recently she made an extremely large order of daffodil bulbs—around 5,000—and she has spent a lot of time on the phone with Maine-based nurseries, like Skillins and O’Donal’s, discussing ways to get more at a discount. They’re not for her though; they are for all of us. She’s project manager for a suffrage centennial celebration, the United We Bloom Daffodil Tribute. The goal of the project is to turn Maine yellow with daffodils come spring 2020, the 100-year anniversary of the United States adopting the 19th Amendment.

The tribute is part of the larger Maine Suffrage Centennial Collaborative, an ongoing project chaired by Ellen Alderman. “This group of amazing women decided that they needed to celebrate the centennial of this kick ass thing that women did that we cannot forget about,” says Lennon.

What have flowers got to do with it? Maine suffragists used the jonquil (another name for the daffodil) as their symbol. When they went to lobby the—male, naturally—state legislators, they carried bouquets and asked supporters to wear them. Can you believe that women had to starve themselves, march on Washington, gather signatures all across the land and buy flowers for men to get the vote? “These women risked their lives,” Lennon says.

Participants in a suffrage parade in New York state, May 1913. Photo courtesy of Library of Congress

The tagline for all of this celebrating is “Hard Won Not Done,” which Alderman first saw on the Iowa Suffrage Centennial website and asked permission to borrow. It is a reminder that when you have the vote, it is essential to use it. The anniversary of Maine’s decision to ratify the 19th Amendment is this November and this why-didn’t-I-think-of-that stroke of genius Daffodil Tribute encourages Mainers to celebrate twice, first by planting the seed—there are parties Nov. 2 and 9, visit mainesuffragecentennial.org or email slennon@maine.rr.com for details—and then by watching the state turn yellow with jonquils in the spring. The 5,000 bulbs will likely be spoken for by the time this October MWM is in your hands, but check in with the group or order your own. “We want everyone in the state to get involved,” Lennon says. And you know the saying, “As Maine goes, so goes the nation?” Now there is national interest in expanding the project. Who doesn’t like flowers? Or women’s rights? (Ahem.)


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