Gabe Gregoire

Gabe Gregoire

Pups at the Point

Don’t you feel a little older when an annual event you remember like it happened yesterday rolls around again? The odd part about it, as the seasons roll past, is not the number of yearly events you recall, but the speed at which the cycle comes around to begin again. Time does fly, at about Mach 5.

The happening in question this time is one of the most fun Portland has to offer to animal lovers: the beer-and-dogs festival Ales for Tails. Last year’s Ales for Tails sold out in advance, and the 2017 event happens on Saturday, September 30 from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. at Thompson’s Point. Tickets are on sale for $30 at https://arlgp.org/save-date-ales-tails/. Just click on “Get Your Tickets Now” in the event description on the site of the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, the org that will benefit from Ales for Tales. They will use the proceeds to keep over 4,000 animals a year safe and happy.

Now, as to the benefits attendees will receive, they are legion. Not only will your of-age bracelet get you samples of brews from beer purveyors like Allagash, Banded Horn, and Fore River, to name only a few, but Blake and Eva from the Coast 93.1 FM will be spinning tunes to keep everyone going, a plethora of food trucks including Urban Sugar, Cannoli Joe’s and Farm to Coast will create satisfied bellies, and get this, the folks from the Congress Street Starbucks have even concocted a creamy treat called a Puppacino so the canines can have a beverage too.

Experience all that and more with your furry family friend, but act fast. Not only will Ales for Tails sell out, but even if it doesn’t, tickets purchased at the gate are $50 apiece. Also, primary sponsor Idexx recommends using public transportation or app-based rideshare like Uber or Lyft, as parking is an extra $5 per car and spaces are limited at the Point.

Dog lovers, have a great time, rain or shine.

  • Published in Pets

Who will be the top Pumpkinheads?

The scent of woodsmoke on your clothes. The hush of an evening breeze in the treetops above. The glow of your friends’ faces in the warm light that only a campfire can throw. Even a maddening mosquito in your tent, whining in your ear, eluding every attempt you make to destroy it. Oh, and being awake, blood invigorated by fresh air, for the first notes of birdsong that gradually build to a chorus of thousands. All of these things and many more make Maine camping unforgettable. If you haven’t been yet, heads up, this may be one of the last weekends comfortable enough for outdoor sleeping, for all but the hardiest.

 

If you feel a pang of obligation toward that camping gear in your garage, and you’re also a runner with a group of like-minded friends, you’re gonna like this: The Pumpkinhead Trail Relay at Pineland Farms (25 Campus Dr, New Gloucester) combines overnight camping on idyllic Maine acres with the passion of competitive trail running. The Relay takes places starting on Friday, September 8 at 8 a.m. and goes on into Saturday. Entry fees are steep at $504 or $1008 (after processing) depending on the type of team registering, but the memories you make with your mates will be priceless.

 

Here’s how it works: As a member of an Ultra Team of four or a Standard Team of five to eight, each contestant must complete three independent trail loops multiple times to contribute to their team’s total time. The three loops, Campus (2.71 mi), Oak Hill (5.22 mi), and River (8.18 mi), all begin and end at The Grove, a hub that will feature a bonfire, music, games, and the transition tent for runners to pass the bib to teammates. Probably not as quick a transfer as it would be with a baton on a track, but the same idea. For assigned camping spots, each team will be allowed a 300-square-foot area, measured on the honor system. Neither dogs nor non-competing campers will be allowed.

 

Think you and your buds can take home a top prize? Start texting, and then dig out that tent!

 

Event website: http://pumpkinheadtrailrelay.com/

 

  • Published in Sports

Look alive: STRIVE for 5

It’s something every expecting mother and father ask themselves: What if our child is born with developmental disabilities? How will I feel? What will we do? And, should it eventually come to pass and be confirmed (usually before the age of 22), the parents, universally as far as we’ve heard, feel the same overwhelming and everlasting love for their child, teen, or young adult as they did the day the baby was born. And what do they do? Just what any parent would do: whatever is necessary. Luckily, there are organizations everywhere that exist only to help these families through difficult times. Not only that, but they work to maximize each youth’s potential, achievement, and enjoyment of life itself.

 

In South Portland (28 Foden Rd), that organization is STRIVE. Yes, it’s an acronym, for Socialization, Transition, Reflection, Innovation, and Education. They’re holding the Foden Road 5K Run/Walk and Block Party on the campus they share with Kaplan University, on Saturday, September 9, starting at 8 a.m. The fundraising run/walk courses over flat quiet streets and paved trails, since the emphasis is on community and support, rather than leaving everyone else in the dust with superior athletics. The cost is $25 for race entry, free for kids under 12. Try to raise extra donations after you register. This is important.

 

Your children will enjoy the free Kids’ Fun Run, also starting at 8 a.m. with no registration required. And you’ve already seen them running nearly wild and hiding under tables at other picnics like the Block Party. They don’t necessarily need to know that they’ll be helping disabled people their age with things like improving fundamental academic skills, developing leadership potential, improving economic opportunities through continuing education, and so much more, but they might be proud if you tell them. In any case, it’s a fun Saturday for a good cause. Let’s build this community.


Event website: https://www.pslstrive.org/STRIVEforFive

  • Published in Kids

Got a favorite dog breed?

If we had to choose the quintessential American dog, it would have to be the Labrador retriever. With their patience for children, gentle demeanor, solid large size, and enthusiasm for jumping in the car and going to play, they’re the all-around Everyone’s Dog. But above all, it’s their loyalty that is the key. We’ve all heard the stories of a lab skittering out onto thin ice to drag a child out of a wintry life-threatening situation, or drawing a high-spectrum autistic kid into his or her first teen vocalizations using the aura of placid affinity that only Labs are the masters of.

We imagine that’s why the Windham-based Maine Lab Rescue has specialized in the breed as they save retrievers and other dogs from southern high-kill animal shelters and other unmentionable situations, and bring them to Maine to recover in foster homes until they can be permanently adopted. Guess what? Several of those adoptable dogs will be at the Planet Dog Company Store (211 Marginal Way) on Saturday, September 9 from noon to 3 p.m. Staff from Maine Lab Rescue will be there with all the requisite papers, and of course, Planet Dog is stuffed with everything else you’ll need for your new pup. Dog lovers who want to volunteer to be a Maine Lab Rescue foster home can find out more by emailing This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Oh, one other thing labrador retrievers are good at: swimming. If you’ve got one that wants to jump in the pool at Sunset Ridge golf course (771 Cumberland St, Westbrook) with a bunch of other doggies, haul them over on Saturday, September 16 between noon and 4 p.m. With a donation to the Animal Refuge League of Greater Portland, your canine pal will be granted full access to the closed-to-humans pool, and you yourself will be the recipient of some cool swag giveaways. Check out the event page at https://www.facebook.com/events/1322192111240403/. So don’t forget, you need to get that Lab work done.

Maine Lab Rescue: http://www.mainelabrescue.com/

Planet Dog: 207-347-8606

Sunset Ridge: 207-854-9463

  • Published in Pets

Do You Have a SAFE Plan?

If we’re not going to fool ourselves and each other, it is clear that there are some dangers in our society that we may have to face, through no fault of our own. Have you ever thought about some specific ones, and made a plan? Many Portlanders carry a spray, a mini-taser, or even a firearm. Others figure that, should a situation arise, their wits and resourcefulness will be what they depend upon. Between the armed and the faithful, there is a third group: the ones that train in martial arts. If you haven’t made up your mind, because thinking about the whole thing brings a feeling of paranoia, hear the words of author, educator, leader, national public speaker, and Martial Arts World Champion, John Jenkins: “The difference between being paranoid and being prepared is the [state] of being informed.”

 

Girls and women can become informed at Jenkin’s “Women's Self Defense: SAFE Plan,” a three-hour seminar at Portland New Church (302 Stevens Ave) on Saturday, September 2 from 9 a.m. to noon. Ticket prices are $25 for adults and $20 for adolescents (12-17, must be accompanied) at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/womens-self-defense-safe-plan-tickets-32198544714 .

 

The SAFE Plan safety program is about: Simplicity (easy to learn, practice and master), Avoidance (learning the skill of risk assessment to help avoid escalating threats), Focus (knowing what to look for in finding a way out of a threatening situation), and Escape (the ability to quickly get out of an unsafe situation). Jenkins stresses that for women, it may be more challenging to pursue goals and realize dreams because of the fear of exposure to risk from the outside. At the seminar, he will discuss how we as humans must change this unevenness. Participants are instructed to bring pen, paper and comfortable clothing. Go and gain a sense of empowerment and self-confidence that you will never lose.

  • Published in Sports

It Starts with Tapping Your Toes

While it is true that an inordinate number of Portland youths are mostly sedentary, quite a few are not. Among those enthusiastic youngsters, some are lucky enough to have supportive parents and the opportunity to develop a physical skill, beyond everyday play. When play is organized, every sport is an arena of such skills. Ball-handling skills, passing accuracy, and shooting under duress are three examples from basketball alone. The self-engineered stamina and endurance of long-distance running are two more. But some kids aren’t into the competitiveness of organized sports, and need an outlet that is still challenging and stimulating. For the ones that naturally love music and moving to it, there’s dance.

 

For kids and teens aged 10 to 18, the chance to show off their accumulated dance ability and maybe earn a spot on a gem of a local company’s roster comes at the Portland Youth Dance auditions at Casco Bay Movers Dance Studio (517 Forest Ave) on Saturday, September 9 from 1 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. There is no fee to audition.

 

Accepted dancers will be placed into level I or II depending on ability. Portland Youth Dance teaches and performs both urban and formal dance styles, giving young artists a well-rounded set of skills to carry on into adulthood. The non-profit company requires dancers to participate in community outreach, as well. Some students choose to teach dance to elementary students at local schools. This ‘pay it forward’ philosophy, along with their ‘No Star, All Star’ maxim of performance without competition simply removes the fear of defeat that keeps many would-be young athletes home, dreaming. So if your kid has a dancing dream, click on http://portlandyouthdance.org/teen-dance-auditions-ages-10-18/ and take the first step toward helping them make it real.

  • Published in Kids

Get Your Butt to Strut Your Mutt

RJ is a gentle, fun-loving mutt who, not so long ago, was found wandering alone down in North Carolina. A partner group to Kennebunk’s Animal Welfare Society took him in. During the ensuing physical, it was discovered that the poor dog had a major diaphragmatic hernia, causing his internal organs to be disjointed and allowing his colon to encroach upon his heart. It didn’t look good. AWS’s partners didn’t have the resources for the requisite surgery to save RJ, but the Mainers did. RJ got transported up, and, having received his procedure and recovered for a month, he is now up for adoption with a fine prognosis.

The AWS has many, many stories like this one, some even closer to having an unhappy ending before their vets, staff and volunteers stepped in. But medical treatment costs money. Sometimes a lot of it. And the Society is a non-profit whose resources are far from unlimited. Logical conclusion? Fundraisers. Their best and biggest? Strut Your Mutt, a hundreds-strong stroll along Mother’s Beach (263-267 Beach Ave, Kennebunk) on Sunday, September 10, with dogs certainly encouraged. The festivities begin at 9 a.m., with the walk starting at 11 a.m. Register at https://www.crowdrise.com/AWSStrutYourMutt as an individual for $12 or a family (up to two adults and four children) for $25. Don’t wait, because you’ll want plenty of time to gather pledges from family, friends and co-workers. Work hard on it; as of Monday, only 30% of the set fundraising goal of $75,000 had been reached.

Other than the fun, frolic and camaraderie of the stroll, attractions at Strut Your Mutt include a photo booth (new for 2017), a kid’s zone with carnival games and a bounce house, a canine agility zone, a wellness zone with dog microchip scans and nail trims, a pet pavilion with merchant and vendor booths, and live, danceable music from the Serfs, a Seacoast accordion-fronted surf/instrumental band. Plus, all registrants receive a T-shirt for themselves and a bandana for their dog, while supplies last. Scrape together a ton of pledges, and you may even receive one of the fundraising prizes (top prize is a Portland getaway that includes dog boarding). And, for the perennially single, it’s not like your dog getting along with theirs isn’t an excellent opening. Get out there.

Event website: http://animalwelfaresociety.org/news-events/strut-your-mutt/

AWS Phone: (207) 985-3244

  • Published in Pets

Paws in the Park and a Show to the South

If you’re a dog owner, there aren’t too many things that are more fun and relaxing than taking your fur-partner to the park for a little R&R. Throw a little ball, romp a little romp, discover a new ridiculous thing your dog wants to do to make you laugh. What could be better?

How about 5,000 people like you and dogs like yours, all groovin’ to some live local bands, at the 7th Annual Pet Rock in the Park? As usual, the fracas takes place at Deering Oaks (north side of Park Ave) on Sunday, August 27 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission, of course, is free. Canines will be the center point, with pet-themed crafts, demonstrations, available adoptable dogs, and the just-plain-fun company of the dog-loving multitudes. But humans will be overjoyed as well, with the ‘Rock’ part of the festival to include bands like Girls Just Want to Have Fun, The Substitutes, and more. Not to mention plenty of great food trucks and stalls for filling bellies. Best of all, as organizers tell us, the whole shebang will go toward taking a ‘bite’ out of animal cancers.

 

Event Website: https://www.facebook.com/events/314769555602696/

 

But that’s not all. Head over to the first-ever Kennebunk Center Dog Show at the Kennebunk Center for Health & Rehabilitation (158 Ross Rd) on Thursday, August 31 at 2 p.m. It’s pretty low-impact. Dogs will be judged on criteria like Crowd Favorite, Waggiest Tail, and Most Energetic. Also, take a pic with your mutt in the donation-based photo booth. If you want to enter your dog in the competition, the fee is $5 and the deadline is Thursday, August 24. All animal immunization records are due with the registration form. Proceeds from the event will benefit The Animal Welfare Society of West Kennebunk. Even if you don’t take home a prize, this to-do is a guaranteed story to tell the other dog lovers in your life. So strap ‘em in and drive!

 

Dog Show website: http://animalwelfaresociety.org/news_and_events/kennebunk-center-for-health-and-rehab-dog-show/

 

  • Published in Pets

You'd Better Run

Most Portland runners, walkers, and joggers are familiar with the soft crunch, crunch, crunch their athletic shoes make on the fine gravel of the Back Cove Trail as they take in some exercise, salty air, and the cityscape view we all love. Some of those athletes, in previous years, have competed in one of Portland’s best 10Ks, the Trail to Ale, which courses around the Back Cove, in part. A few do it for the rush of running against fellow participants, and a few more go for the post-race craft brew party. And there are those who can’t decide what they like best. But a select group of diligent, dedicated runners will want to take part in a special pre-T2A event.

 

It’s the Trail to Ale 10K Preview Run, a multi-paced dry run of this year’s course, which begins and ends in the East End, running through the Eastern Prom neighborhood, part of Bayside, and of course, around the Back Cove. The Preview happens this Friday, August 18, at 6:30 a.m. It meets on the Eastern Promenade at Cutter Street, where Portland Trails board and staff members will guide registered participants in groups according to projected pace through the entire race route. So if you want to know whether the Trail to Ale, which happens on Sunday, September 17, is a good match for your ability and willingness, sign up for the Preview Run at http://trails.org/calendar/trail-ale-10k-preview-run/ . If you’ve already registered for the official race, the Preview is free. It’s $5 for Portland Trails members, and $7 otherwise. Organizers ask that you bring cash on the morning of the Preview.

 

For runners at the northern end of our readership area, there’s the Run for Our Fallen Heroes 10K & 5K Walk/Run, which starts at the Brunswick Recreation Center (220 Neptune Dr) on Sunday, August 20 at 9:30 a.m. with same-day registration beginning at 7 a.m. Online registration at http://www.mainefallenheroes.org/run-for-our-fallen-heroes/ maxes out at $25 for non-family athletes running the whole 10K. As you may have guessed, proceeds benefit the families of fallen Maine service members, but what makes this event really interesting is the partnership with The Summit Project. In a nutshell, this organization honors the fallen by accepting stories of valor from the bereaved Maine families, along with unearthed stones that represent the spirits of their warriors, which are then engraved and carried by volunteers to places like the summits of Katahdin, Cadillac, Kilimanjaro, Everest, and Denali. The stones of the families attending the Run for Our Fallen Heroes will be carried during the race. For regular runners, awards will be given to the top 3 finishers in each age group.

As always, don’t forget to stretch, and we wish you tailwinds.

  • Published in Sports

Can You Make it to the Olympics

Have the words “Don’t you want to grow up big and strong?” ever left your lips? Were you caught in a moment of shock sitting at your own dinner table immediately after, not believing your own parents had the magical ability to speak through you like that? The whole spiel, diet and exercise, has been ingrained in Americans’ heads for generations. It isn’t going away. Whether the old cliche inspires your kids to eat their vegetables or not, these are the things we all must do to stay fit. We’ll leave it to you to regulate your family’s menu. But if you need a couple of ideas for getting ‘em to run around, read on.

Plan a trip to Freeport on Saturday, August 19, where from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. our friends at L.L. Bean (95 Main St) are hosting a Kids’ Get Out & Play Day for the express purpose of getting children moving and breathing outdoor air. Bean staff, along with members of local Boy Scout troops, will facilitate a mountain-bike skills test course, slack-lining, and a host of other physical activities. Plus, exercise their young minds, as well, since the Happy Camper Book Fair with Scholastic will be there with tables full of books. Admission is free to all. Check out the website at http://www.llbean.com/summer .

Also, throughout the weekend (Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) the 34th Annual Beach Olympics will take place at Palace Playland and the Town Square in downtown Old Orchard Beach. This event is also free, festivities to include games and fun, family-friendly competitions such as the opening ceremony, live music, a silent auction, and more. All activities and events benefit Special Olympics Maine. Bonus points for the one who spots the most Speedos on tourists on the beach on the way back to the car. Grab the rest of summer and wear out those rugrats.

  • Published in Kids
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