Solstice street soiree to start city summer fun

Jun 18, 2014
Photo by: Dwight Collins Reagan Billingsley of Rockland blows giant bubbles at the 2013 Summer Solstice Celebration in Rockland. The 2014 celebration kicks off Saturday, June 21, at 4 p.m.

Rockland — Downtown Rockland will be throwing a big party Saturday, June 21, from 4 to 8 p.m. complete with music, food and retail vendors.

The Annual Summer Solstice Celebration is produced by Rockland Main Street, Inc., and sponsored by Camden National Bank.

The decades-long tradition for families from all across the Midcoast region will bring up to 5,000 people to a Main Street that will be closed to vehicular traffic for four hours. During that time, the street will be filled with pedestrians enjoying various bands, plenty of food, and fun for all ages.

One of the big attractions will be the traditional Whoopie Pie-Eating Contest, sponsored by Rockland Café, where registration begins at 4 p.m. and the contest begins at 6 p.m.

In addition to live music and food, festivities will include games and prizes for children, dancing, and a spontaneous flash mob dance where everyone is encouraged to participate. Free public dance instructions led by Dancing Elephant will be available from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the waterfront.

Free face painting, temporary tattoos, giant bubbles, art classes, knitting classes, and a street chalk-art exhibition are also scheduled.

While this is a free, family event, members of the Rock Coast Rollers roller-derby team will collect donations to support Rockland Main Street, Inc., events in between skating demonstrations.

Some of the non-profit organizations anticipated to be on hand will be Pope Memorial Humane Society of Knox County, the Kiwanis Club of Rockland, the Maine Lobster Festival, and the Farnsworth Art Museum.

Many retail and service businesses will be open and all of the restaurants are expected to be open for dinner.

During this rain-or-shine event, organizers have said that smoking on Main Street will be prohibited. Dogs are encouraged to keep their humans on a short leash throughout the evening. Those humans are expected to demonstrate courtesy to others by ensuring that their pets do not leave anything behind.

According to Gordon Page, executive director of Rockland Main Street, Inc., Main Street will be closed to vehicular traffic from the corner of Park Street all the way to Summer Street, but the entire harbor will be accessible to vehicles via Park Drive and the Harbor Park entrance next to Mildred Merrill Park on South Main Street.

Park Drive will be open to provide complete vehicular access to Buoy Park, Lermond’s Cove, Journey’s End Marina on Tillson Avenue, the Landings Restaurant and Marina on Commercial Street, and the Pearl restaurant. There will be no vehicular access to Main Street via the side streets between Park and Summer. Parking will be available behind the Thorndike block, accessible from lower Tillson, via Park Drive.

Public bathrooms will be available on Tillson Avenue.

Comments (8)
Posted by: Maggie Trout | Jun 21, 2014 19:14

Well, S.S., you'll probably be told that what you were told isn't true.  But I have a question - what does Rockland Main Street do to advance merchant business.  Over the years, it hasn't become apparent, and it seems that Rockland Main Street likes to take credit for any new business that locates there, which I don't understand at all, because it is the business owner/landlord that make it happen.  But there's always a photograph of a ribbon cutting or some such, with RMS and one or more city councilors, with the effect that they were, somehow, integrally involved.  Is RMS/City Council integrally involved?  I don't know.


I've always wanted an up-to-the-minute list in one place of what businesses are open, what their hours are, what special items, or sales they may have - wouldn't people find this helpful and attract people to the stores and restaurants?  In the off-season/winter, you never know what may or not be open unless you go downtown and see - and that can be disappointing.  Should people have to call every store they're interested in going to before driving to Rockland?


I've also heard enough customers asking owners, clerks, and waitstaff if they knew where they might locate an item.  No one working a business has the time to keep tabs on the businesses nearby.  Has RMS ever offered a once-a-month gathering to merchants, during which time they could fill each other in on their latest offerings? 


Rockland Main Street is tied to the City of Rockland.  That's how the Main Street program works, but is it fulfilling it's function, or is the focus more on "frosting" the cake - as with more money funneled into RMS, than on the cake? 

Posted by: Susan Sinclair | Jun 21, 2014 18:05

Interestingly, I spoke to people who work at a Main Street business, and they despise this event. Doesn't sound well organized to me if there's that much angst among residents and businesses.

Posted by: Bill Packard | Jun 18, 2014 18:26

Nobody has to donate, do they?

Posted by: David E Myslabodski | Jun 18, 2014 17:20

RE "While this is a free, family event, members of the Rock Coast Rollers roller-derby team will collect donations to support Rockland Main Street, Inc., events in between skating demonstrations."




During the Council meeting that dealt with cutting a library position, we were reminded about what $12.00 mean for a family that depends of the Food Pantry.  Now this! The Council gives $30K to RMS and now they have the gall to pass the hat!!!


Something STINKS in Rockland, but it is not coming from the dump!


Posted by: Maggie Trout | Jun 18, 2014 17:10

R.M. - It will be a fun event for most people, and it's always great to have the presence of the Kiwanis Club.  The street will be crowded, so asking that there be no smoking is reasonable, but I'd think twice about bringing dogs as well.  Always happy to support Rock Coast Rollers, (sorry about the error before), or A.I.O., etc., but

Posted by: Richard McKusic, Sr. | Jun 18, 2014 14:18

Who made the no smoking rule. Is it enforceable? Collecting money for Rockland Maine Street? How about collection for Area Interfaith Outreach or Hospitality House. Enough is enough. Looking forward to who will run for city council in November who will look after the rest of us.

Posted by: Maggie Trout | Jun 18, 2014 14:01

Another "loose ball."  Rockland Main Street was just given $30,000 (more) by the City Council.  I don't know how Rock City Rollers was rooked into collecting more money for Rockland Main Street, but I'm sorry they were, and that the event is hardly "free," as, in the past, there was no such aggressive solicitation.


 The The City of Rockland should be holding an event for all residents.


Is Rockland Main Street going to offer dog poop bags?

Has the public restroom had its Grand Opening?


Any additional restrictions as to dress, minimum amount of money to be spent?  Why not just put up a toll booth.  What fun.


Posted by: Francis Mazzeo, Jr. | Jun 18, 2014 13:00

Downtown Rockland throws a big party and the residents of South Main Street can lose some more lawn lights and ornaments to individuals feeling the community spirits from the local gin mills. Crime is down because it's a waste of time to report it as the results are nil.

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