Summer Nights & Dog Days

Merry Wives
Aug. 1, 9–10, 17–18
Cumston Hall, 796 Main St., Monmouth
The Theater at Monmouth, celebrating its 50th year, is performing The Merry Wives of Windsor this month, giving you multiple chances to see Shakespeare’s domestic comedy, featuring jealous husbands, confused lovers and the triumph of feminine wisdom. Bonus: directed by a woman, Catherine Weidner. ($20–34; 207–933-9999;

Witty Writers
Aug. 2, 7 p.m.
Mechanics Hall Library, 519 Congress St., Portland
Come hear three Maine women—Patsy Baldus, Kathy Eliscu and Lew-Ellyn Hughes talk about writing (and publishing) with wit. A First Friday collaboration with Print Bookstore, Maine Authors Publishing and the Maine Charitable Mechanic Association.

Float Your Lantern
Aug. 4, 4–9 p.m.
Summer nights, summer lights. The Water Lantern Festival returns to Deering Oaks Park. Buy a lantern, decorate it with your hopes and dreams and send it out on the water while enjoying music and refreshments from a fleet of food trucks. ($30–40;

Can You Can?
Aug. 15, 5:30–8 p.m.
244 Log Cabin Road, Arundel
It’s tomato season. Are you ready to preserve yours? The University of Maine’s Cooperative Extension will teach you how to can and freeze them. Visit a working farm, Frinklepod Farm, to learn from a Master Preserver and go home with your own jar of tomatoes. ($30; register in advance at; 207–289–5805)

An earlier training ride for women. Photo courtesy of Eliza Cress, Bicycle Coalition of Maine

Biker Babes
Aug. 21
Departing 38 Diamond St. at 5:45 p.m.
Here’s a fun option for any woman feeling both curious and nervous about road riding; the Bicycle Coalition of Maine is offering a ride designed to get you comfortable. Led by the coalition’s Eliza Cress, this Wednesday night event will take you on an 18-mile round trip (duration: about two hours) from downtown Portland to Two Lights State Park and back. (Free)

Smart Dog Tricks
Aug. 24–25, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Woman’s best friend is featured at L.L.Bean this weekend during the two-day long Dog Days of August festival, which supports shelter pets and programs. If you’ve got a dog that loves water, consider bringing him or her along; the DockDogs will be performing and they are some seriously good athletes (and dogs). (Free;


When American businesswomen descended on Portland nearly a century ago

Convention goers from all over the country at a clambake on Peaks Island, July 1925. Photo courtesy of the Maine Historical Society

Have you seen the Power of Potential photography show at the Maine Historical Society yet? If you haven’t, you’ve got until Aug. 25 to get over there for this fascinating glimpse at the working woman of nearly a century ago. The National Federation of Business and Professional Women’s Clubs held their seventh annual convention in Portland from July 12–18, 1925, just six years after the group was founded (and just as the women’s suffrage movement was finally about to secure women the vote). Maine was a leader in New England for memberships in the professional clubs and the event was hosted by the Portland Business and Professional Women’s Club.

Women, 2,000 of them, came from all over for the six-day event and the Portland Evening Express reported on it extensively. The newspaper covered them getting off the train, enjoying a clambake on Peaks Island and participating in meetings. Maine historian Candace Kanes has studied the 110 glass negatives from the collection and written about them for the Maine Memory Network. Among her observations? These ladies might have worn silly hats and costumes representing the states they’d come from, but they also got serious about issues like child labor. And liberation; they had a magazine, called The Independent Woman.

Kanes found that the women who joined the local club in Portland and clubs elsewhere often owned small businesses. They worked in real estate, advertising and journalism. They were doctors, nurses, teachers, stenographers and milliners. These weren’t just young ladies working to fill the time until they got married. Kanes writes that about 80 percent of club members stayed single. The average age of club members was 40.

“What they had in common was a sense of their jobs as careers and an interest in moving up the occupational ladder to more responsibility and more remuneration,” Kanes concludes. The exhibit is up at the Earle G. Shettleworth Jr. Lecture Hall until Aug. 25. ($2–8, free to Maine Historical Society members; 489 Congress St., Portland;

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