Sunday, June 22, 2008

All's fair this weekend

With the added energy and daylight of the summer solstice upon us, Portland burst into party mode this weekend. Food lovers had a seemingly endless number of options. Adam and I spent the bulk of our time volunteering at the Bayside World Market & Fair.

Even with our fair commitments, we managed to get to the farmers' market early Saturday and came away with two grocery bags full of yummy veggies. I picked up many firsts for the season: gorgeous radishes (see above), baby carrots, beets and broccoli. Strawberries were plentiful and there was talk of even greater bounty this coming week.

On Friday night, we helped set up the market. Chris and Emily were all smiles as they put the finishing touches on the table set-up. They did an amazing job figuring out how to accommodate more than 100 vendors in the lovely Portland High School. They were assisted by an enthusiastic crowd of volunteers, who turned the historic building into a thriving market.

Thousands of people turned out to check out the merchandise.

Before the crowds arrived, we had a little fun during the Friday night set-up. You can't read it, but Casey is pricing that salad set for something like €219.47. Despite the lofty pricing schemes, Casey and Emily managed to sell most of their stuff. Which is sure to lighten their load as they head off on a new adventure in Houston, TX. All of us in Bayside are so sad to see them go. They've both been a tremendous asset to the community, and we can only hope their new Texas neighbors will appreciate them as much as those of us in the Bayside neighborhood do.

The most delicious part of the fair came in the form of the huge selection of food. More than 20 vendors hailing from nations as wide-ranging as Sudan, Poland and Vietnam, served an enticing array of good eats. These vegetable somosas from Passage to India and the fresh spring rolls from Nakornping Thai were super tasty.

In the afternoon, we managed to take a quick trip over to USM to check out the Maine Animal Coalition's 4th Annual Vegetarian Food Festival. We showed up while most people were in the auditorium listening to Paul Shapiro speak. Since we were pressed for time, we passed on the talk and instead checked out the tables and sampled some food. The serving tray in the lower left hand corner holds tangy soup shots from the Pepper Club. We also enjoyed ployes from the Bouchard Family Farm in Fort Kent and chocolate pie from The Green Elephant in Portland. We got the last of the Green Elephant samples (and they'd already been back to the restaurant once to get more food).

Back at the Bayside World Market & Fair, we had the chance to check out Ayperi perform her hypnotic belly dancing. Little did we know this would be an interactive performance.

She asked for volunteers to join her on the stage and learn how to groove belly dance style. No one moved. Then Portland's leading blues man Samuel James jumped up on the stage. He even helped pressure Adam and Casey into getting up there too. They were awesome! Pretty soon we were all out of our seats doing crazy moves like scooping ice cream with our hips. It was hysterical!
The night concluded with a bunch of us grabbing dinner and drinks down at G&R DiMillo's. This extra dirty martini (with my favorite Cold River Vodka) was the perfect way to cap off a fun day and another successful festival.


Bianca said...

Looks like a fun, fun weekend. And those are lovely radishes! I love how they're all different colors.

Marisa L. S. said...

Looks like you had a fun, busy weekend! Belly dancing is not easy, is it?

Meg Wolff said...

I love your Web site! Great Portland weekend update. I was headed to hear Jess Porter at the Veg Festival, but got delayed with the parade on Congress. So, I ended up at (guess where?) ... The Green Elephant!

J said...

What a fun event! Sounds like you guys had a great time!

Those radishes are gorgeous!

Anonymous said...

This sounds like it was a wonderful time!