by Esther J. Perne
Pick a weekend not just any weekend. Pick the first weekend in August when Belgrade Lakes Village and the many lakes of the Belgrades are humming with activity. Most other weekends there is a lot of hum, too, but this particular weekend is vibrant with some pretty special, and pretty typical, traditions.
Leading the list is the Saturday night double feature: the Bean Hole Bean Supper at the Belgrade Community Center for All Seasons, sponsored by the Belgrade Fire Department and the Belgrade Lakes Loon Calling Contest at the Belgrade Lakes/Rome bridge, sponsored by Castle Island Camps. Dating back several decades, both events continue to draw huge, happy crowds, here for the day, the week or the weekend.
It is difficult to pinpoint when a summer weekend starts, perhaps Wednesday, perhaps Saturday, because it's summer and it's vacation and because of all the wonderful reasons for just going to town, or village as the case may be — strolling, shopping, chatting, people watching, eating or attending an event.
Aside from the bean supper and the loon calling, other village events of the weekend include Britannica Acoustic Duo on Friday evening, a Stand Up Paddle Boarding, Kayak & Canoe Relay Race on Saturday, an Aquafest on Saturday and a Lakeside Artisan Show on Sunday, all based at the Center for All Seasons, and the Belgrade Lakes Market on Sunday at the Maine Lakes Resource Center on Main Street.
Although the Village is the hub, throughout the Belgrades the beat continues literally with the concerts at Snow Pond Center for the Performing Arts in Sidney, including the musical Little Women and the final New England Music Camp concerts of the season at the Bowl in the Pines on Lake Messalonskee.
And beyond? There are fests and festivals, anniversaries and fairs, art walks and benefit walks, theater by and for all ages, lectures and museum programs, and music in waterside parks.
If it sounds like the whole region is busy and bustling, it is. But that first weekend in August has some pretty special traditions in Belgrade Lakes.