Gardiner, Maine’s Swine & Stein Oktoberfest

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Gardiner, Maine

When I was 25 years old, I naively decided my rent was nearly a mortgage payment and that I should buy a house. I scoured the Brunswick area for months before a colleague mentioned that for what I could afford as a single schoolteacher, I could get a lot more house if I looked where he lived in Gardiner. I mentioned Gardiner to my realtor and she found three properties for us to look at. The third house we saw was the one. I got a little teary when I looked around the house for the first time, actually. I’ve lived in Gardiner for just over seven years now. It’s just 30 minutes north of Brunswick and 45 minutes north of Portland (yes, really). Gardiner is undergoing a revitalization, and much of that energy and progress has to do with the efforts of Gardiner Main Street. We are also in the midst of a focused community building and improvement project called Heart & Soul. In short, good things are happening here! Down East Magazine even wrote a lengthy article last year about why you should move to Gardiner. I agree—the more the merrier!

One of the best things about Gardiner is the variety of community events here. My personal favorite is our annual Swine & Stein Oktoberfest. It combines silly games with Maine beer, Maine pork, and live music from Maine artists. An article in last year’s Portland Press Herald about Swine & Stein even called it “an Olympics of silliness.” Where else can you find a frozen t shirt contest or a serious bout of Rochambeau (rock-paper-scissors, that is)?! It’s always a great day, and this year—the 4th annual—was no different. Scroll down to the bottom for pictures of adorable dogs, goats, pigs, toddlers, dancing youngsters, a super cute kiddo feeding goats, and family friendly games.

Gardiner, Maine's Water Street!

Gardiner, Maine’s Water Street!

This is a concert blog, though, and I was able to catch two acts at this year’s Swine & Stein. My friend Sorcha (of Sorcha & The Clearing) played with Jo Sorrell (of Forget, Forget) and they were followed by The Ghost of Paul Revere. I’d somehow never managed to see Sorcha play live, and she was great. I enjoyed her soulful voice and catchy songs, and the harmonies that she and Jo formed sounded great. I’m also a sucker for a cello, so I particularly enjoyed their sound with Jo on cello. Sorcha was also a captivating front woman and cheerfully interacted with the crowd. Here’s a video of Sorcha and Jo playing “If You Get Too Close” so you can get a taste of their sound. I’m hoping to catch Sorcha & The Clearing on November 9th at Frontier Café in Brunswick. I should also take a moment to mention that Forget, Forget was just nominated for “Best New Act” on the Portland Phoenix’s Best of Music Poll. You can vote here. Forget, Forget is one of my favorite bands in Portland right now. Here’s my post about their recent CD release show.

Sorcha and Jo

Sorcha and Jo

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The Ghost of Paul Revere is fantastic live. I first saw them back in May at One Longfellow Square and they stole the show. They call their sound “holler roots” and it’s a very accurate description of what they do. They are a heavily stringed group with killer harmonica by Matt Young. I saw a lot of toe tapping and stomping in the crowd (and on stage) during their set, which is especially impressive given no one in the band plays percussion. Their harmonies are superb and their songs have power. I talked to Griffin Sherry after the show (his proud dad was a fantastic merch guy!) about their upcoming shows and their Pledge Music drive to raise funds to record their first full-length album. There are 11 days left to contribute to the project. I picked up their EP and especially like “San Antone” (which is in rotation on 98.9 WCLZ) and “Mountain Song.” The Ghost of Paul Revere was just nominated for “Best Roots Act” on the Portland Phoenix’s Best of Music Poll. You can vote here. Definitely catch The Ghost of Paul Revere live. They are impressive and are another of my very favorite Portland-based bands.


The Ghost of Paul Revere

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Thanks to everyone who worked so hard to make Swine & Stein a great day! See you next year!



As promised, pictures of the fun!

Cute animals:


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Adorable toddlers meeting for the first time:


Freya is one of Gardiner’s unofficial mascots:


Here’s a super cute kiddo happily feeding goats:

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A family friendly intermission game:

The "throw the ping-pong ball into a bucket tied to your partner's head" game

The “throw the ping-pong ball into a bucket tied to your partner’s head” game



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