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Wings, wine and beer: oh my! - Best of the North festival hits the Bangor Waterfront

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BANGOR – Get ready to fill your belly with delicious beer, wine and wings on the Waterfront this weekend.

The Best of the North Festival – an event born of a collaborative effort by the Greater Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau (GBCVB) and the United Way of Eastern Maine - is set to take place from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Bangor Waterfront.

The festival represents the coming together of three unique events – the CVB’s Wine on the Waterfront and Tap into Summer and the United Way’s Wingfest Maine. The Best of the North Festival will also feature local music and the addition of a kid zone, creating a family-friendly hybrid of both organizations’ events.

All told, there will be 28 brewers, 20 wing vendors and a dozen purveyors of wine and spirits in attendance – more than enough variety for a fan of any or all of these wonderful things. Tickets are $28 per person for just wings, $50 per person for the wings, wine and beer combo ticket or $70 per person for the VIP ticket; they can be purchased at www.bestofthenorth.com.

“This is going to be great for both organizations,” said Kerrie Tripp, Executive Director of the GBCVB, in a press release “Creating a hybrid that combines three very successful events with like-minded attractions is not only a good thing for our organizations, but also for the attendees and our community. It showcases what is available here in this region and in our state in a way that will attract people who attended the events historically, and build upon that by potentially appealing to a brand-new audience.”

“We are thrilled to be joining forces with the CVB to create an even bigger and better event that will have ripple effects throughout our community,” said Shirar Patterson, President and CEO at the United Way. “Best of the North will do what Bangor has done so well over the past few years, and attract people to our gorgeous waterfront for a great time. On top of that, money spent at this event will go to two organizations that provide very different, but very important services in this region.”

United Way Vice President of Resource Development & Communications Jesse Moriarty has played a key role in bring Best of the North to life. We spoke to her about the event, the process and just some of what people can expect.

The Maine Edge: What prompted you to want to consolidate all three events into one afternoon?

Moriarty: We have been big fans of the Bangor Region Convention and Visitor Bureau’s Wine on the Waterfront and Tap into Summer events for years and when they approached us with this idea of combining those two events with our event, Wingfest, to create a much larger festival on the Bangor Waterfront it made a ton of sense. When we originally conceived of Wingfest we’d always wanted beer to be a part of it, it felt like a very natural paring, so this felt like a no-brainer.

TME: How has the festival come together in terms of logistics? What kind of planning goes into putting something like this together?

Moriarty: It’s amazing how many moving parts there are. But with incredible partners and amazing vendors it’s come together to be an unforgettable day on the waterfront. We have over 60 vendors who will be there ready to treat us all to some of the best flavors our great state and region has to offer.

TME: What kind of new wrinkles can people expect from the Best of the North Fest?

Moriarty: It really is going to have that outdoor, Saturday afternoon festival vibe. We’ll have live music from Dakota and the Jameson Four all day long. It is a family-friendly event with kids under six eating for free and a kid zone. A big change for us at United Way is the VIP hour [from 11 a.m. to noon], where folks can buy a ticket to come an hour earlier, enjoy lunch from Moe’s BBQ and talk to brewers and vintners. The other big additional this year is an afterhours block party. At 4 p.m., all the wing, beer and wine vendors get to break down their stations and join us all for a big party. There will be live music, beer and other concessions for sale. A great way to end what is going to be an awesome day!

TME: How much fun is it going to be?

Moriarty: This is going to be THE do not miss party of the summer. Because of the nature of the event, the restaurants and brewers will be bringing samples based on advanced tickets sales, so if folks want to attend be sure to purchase tickets ASAP. There will be only be a limited number of tickets sold the day of the festival. You can purchase tickets and learn more by visiting the festival website at www.bestofthenorth.com.

(All proceeds from The Best of the North Festival will stay in Eastern Maine to benefit the work of the United Way of Eastern Maine and the Greater Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau.)

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