Like so many other people, Joe's life has been touched by cancer. As heartbreaking as the disease can be, few things inspire Joe more than survivors and their resilience. Each year, over a thousand women (many of them survivors) gather in South Portland to swim, bike & run as they Tri for a Cure in Maine's only all-women's triathlon. The Tri for a Cure, held by the Maine Cancer Foundation, has become the largest triathlon in the state, providing a unique opportunity for women to engage in the fight against cancer here in Maine. The triathletes share a unique bond; some are cancer survivors, others are racing in support of their loved ones, but all of them share the desire to create a cancer-free Maine, a desire that Joe shares. This year's event is this Sunday, July 22nd, in South Portland. Find more about the Tri at the official website. Joe wishes good luck to the competitors and to everyone who has ever suffered from this terrible disease, and he hopes that all female readers of this blog consider participating next year (or at least coming to watch and cheer!)
Looking for something to do this weekend that's both fun and inspiring? Then Joe thinks you should check out Wazo Fest, a festival being held by an exciting organization in our community. Kesho Wazo, Maine’s transformative youth arts and activism collective, is a group of local artists and activists whose mission is to open up the minds of Portland's youth, unleashing their imagination and freeing them to create new art and ideas and bettering the world in the process.
This weekend is the second annual Wazo Fest, which will feature music, film, meditation, discussions, workshops, skating, and healthy food as the vehicles by which Kesho Wazo will empower all members of our community.
Joe loves the local music scene of his hometown, and today he's spreading the word about a new group you may not know of.
Little Sea Folk is a simple idea born out of the complexity of touring, playing national and international festivals, hosting concerts, recording and releasing albums, and throughout it all, asking ourselves what we can do to contribute to a community in which musicians, students, audience members, and passersby feel welcome, educated, and entertained.
The Little Sea Folk Festival, to be held this weekend in Portland, represents the incredible music found all over Maine. A concert series, spring and autumn céilí dances, and youth programming with the Children’s Theatre & Museum of Maine are all on the docket for 2018 with more opportunities developing for 2019. Learn more about this great event here.
Who wants to support local Portland artists? Joe sure does, which is why he's excited that the Maine College of Art (MECA) will again be holding its annual "Collect" art sale in support of MECA's scholarship fund and participating artists. Collect will be held this Thursday, June 28th, through Saturday, June 30th. This fundraiser features a unique, diverse and unexpected array of work in a variety of genres with a range of prices, sizes and media, including original jewelry, textiles, prints, furniture, paintings, sculpture, ceramics, drawings, photography, textiles and more. Artwork will be rotated daily with fresh work on display each day. Find out more about the event here. Admission to the sale is free, so be sure to stop in and find the perfect gift, crafts, and fine arts by MECA students, alumni, faculty and staff. Who knows, you might even run into Joe!
Few things inspire Joe more than seeing people better themselves through education. (One of Joe's heroes is his great-grandmother Esther, who graduated law school in 1935...at age 65!) In Portland, there is an organization that helps adults in the area to lead better and more fulfilling lives. Portland Adult Education, PAE, is a wide-ranging community program that brings people and resources together for academic courses, for job skills or personal enrichment, for special needs, or just for fun. Classes are held throughout the city at different times. You can find more about this amazing organization at their website. Since it's that time of the year, the Portland Adult Education graduation ceremony (PAE GRAD) is coming up. At this lovely ceremony, PAE's graduates will be honored at Merrill Auditorium. Joe is sure it will be an inspiring event, and wishes the graduates all the future success!
Today Joe honors the legacy of Whitby Tousignant, who led an extraordinary life. Born with hypoplastic left heart syndrome, Whit was saved several times by donated blood. While Whit's family had to say goodbye to him in January of 2012, they celebrate his birthday each year by hosting a memorial blood drive.
Today, June 25, from 9am to 3pm, Hadlock Field in Portland will be the site of the annual Love Whit Blood Drive, held by the American Red Cross. Whit's 2018 blood drive is fully booked, but you can always find a drive near you by visiting www.redcrossblood.org. A single blood donation can save up to three lives, and the need for donated blood is constant.
Readers of this blog are by now familiar with the Maine State Society for the Protection of Animals, New England's largest horse shelter. The Society is caring for many horses in various stages of recovery from abuse or neglect. Some are healthy, trained, and awaiting adoption into a new permanent home; others will live out their days at the Society’s Windham farm.
It takes 20,000 bales of hay to feed The Society's horses for a year. The 2018 Buy a Bale fundraiser gives everyone a chance to help the horses. A $5 donation can purchase a bale of hay and feed a horse for an entire day. Learn more about the cause here, and donate to Buy a Bale here.
Joe is a big fan of the good folks at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in the lovely West End. That's why he's spreading the word about this weekend's 2018 Greek Festival. Taking place today (6/21) through Saturday 6/23, this spectacular three-day Greek Festival is a wonderful family event that each year draws more than 10,000 visitors from around the greater Portland area. Along with the exquisite Greek cuisine, there will be live music and traditional dancing. Guests will dine on exceptional Greek food, cooked the old-fashioned way by hard-working members of the Holy Trinity parish, using authentic Greek recipes, all-natural ingredients and lots of tender, loving care. Joe hopes this event goes off without a hitch, and encourages you to check it out!