Growing Gardiner
An All-Day Celebration of Our Beautiful City

Saturday, June 18th

Downtown Activities: 8:30am - 4pm
Community Picnic on the Common: 5pm - 7:30pm

Gardiner Main Street is partnering with community members to host a fun-filled day for neighbors and new residents, and for visitors wanting to explore and enjoy the charm of our historic city on the Kennebec River.

For questions about this event, please contact a member of the Growing Gardiner coordinating team:

Kathy Brown:
Geri Doyle:
Cheryl Clark:

Growing Gardiner Supported by:

Full Event Schedule

Downtown Activities

Student Art on Display ~ All Day

View art created by Gardiner Area High School students in a variety of classes which demonstrate a unique and creative form of assessment. On display in the storefront windows of Lisa’s Legit Burritos, 304 Water Street.

Record Store Day Release Drops ~ 8-5

A special release date for new and re-released vinyl records. Follow Niche Inc Music & Games on Facebook for product update, giveaways and more.

Library Plant Sale ~ 8:30-9:30

Please join us at the Gardiner Public Library to kick off the Gardiner Growing Festival with a plant sale. All sales will benefit the Gardiner Library Association, which owns and maintains the historic library building.

Antique Cars On Display ~ 9:30-4

See a collection of antique and classic cars in the parking lot at the corner of Mechanic and Church Streets, and also the Water Street lot just past the library. 

Downtown Shopping Raffle ~ 10-4

Gardiner Main Street is rewarding you for supporting our local business during the event Present your receipt for $50 more from a single business and be entered to the Gardiner Main Street table next to Johnson Hall an be entered to win a FREE $20 Gift of Gardiner certificate for spending all over downtown. Great chances for winning – $500 in prizes awarded!

Drumming Circle ~ 10-12

Join in or dance along with drummers in the pocket park between Johnson Hall and the Blind Pig Tavern.

Puppet Show & Puppet Making Craft ~ 10-11

Student puppeteers will share a short children’s puppet show! With the help of their puppet friends from Barnabas & His Gang of Goofballs, they will learn all about what it takes to make a garden grow. The show will be followed by a paper bag puppet making craft.

The event will take place on the library’s second-floor children’s library.

Gardiner's History Presentation ~ 10-11

The Currents of Gardiner’s Growth – A History

Where the Cobbossee Stream and Kennebec River meet is among the most vibrant and historic locations in Central Maine and even throughout New England. From its earliest habitation through years of boom and bust, fires and floods, and all that comes with industrial progress, this location of confluence has weathered upturns and depressions that our city and citizens have weathered in turn. From raw natural beauty through rapid and prolonged innovation, set-backs and rebirths, Gardiner continues to grow and adapt. Join us to explore the currents of Gardiner’s past, present, and future, as its history continues to grow.

Dawn Thistle is Assistant Director and Special Collections Librarian at Gardiner Public Library. She grew up in Central Maine and spent many happy afternoons in libraries reading about the history of other places. After studying Dramatic Writing at New York University she turned to public service, building trails and tutoring children with AmeriCorps in Colorado, Missouri, and Texas. Upon returning to Maine, she taught teenagers with emotional and behavioral disabilities for nearly a decade. In 2006, she found her way back to libraries and, finally, history. She served as Vassalboro Public Library’s Director for 10 years and joined the Gardiner Public Library staff in 2011, diving swiftly into the amazing historical collections in the Community Archives Room and rarely coming up for air. She is passionate about local history, genealogy, and connecting people with stories and information.

Downtown Scavenger Hunt ~ 10-1

Fun for the whole family! Visit shops with your passport and enter a drawing for local merchants’ gifts. 10am-1pm. Drawing is at 1pm.

Hosted by the Winter Street Baptist Church. Check in at their table in front of Johnson Hall.

Bird Calling with Jeff Wells ~ 10-2

Learn all about birds, and some bird calling with Jeff Wells in front of 1 Brunswick Trading

Children are invited to stop in for a special gift from Alan Claude Gallery & Gift Shop, 165 Water St

Plein Air Artists ~ 10:30-4

Be on the lookout for artists at work! Artists will be setting up throughout Gardiner and creating live artworks which will later be on display and for sale.

Artwork will be on display at Circling the Square Fine Art Press from 1-4pm. 

Childrens Flag Making Craft ~ 11

“Fly a flag for Gardiner” Decorate a flag to celebrate growing in Gardiner.

This activity will be located inside the event room at Domino’s Pizza

Native Plants Discussion - 11-12

Designing Native Plant Gardens that are Pollinator-Friendly

Expert discussion in the Library Hazzard Reading Room

Why Native Plants?  The right plant in the right place is the basis of good garden design.  In Pollinator-Friendly Gardens, the plants need to be compatible with the pollinators you wish to attract.  This talk, appropriately on the eve of National Pollinator Week 2022, will give an overview of how to determine what are those “right plants” for those places in a pollinator-friendly garden. 

Lynne Holland is part of the Home Horticultural Team at the University of Maine Cooperative Extension. She coordinates the Master Gardener Volunteers for Androscoggin and Sagadahoc counties and works on projects focused on community engagement and food security, such as the Maine Harvest for Hunger and the Maine Hunger Dialogue. Her training is in sustainable landscapes. In addition, Lynne is herself a Master Gardener Volunteer and a member of the Communication and Marketing team of the UMaine Extension.  Lynne lives in Brunswick with her family and has a postage-stamp-sized yard that she strives to make pollinator-friendly.

Fairy House Decorating ~ 11-2

Add embellishments to decorate fairy houses to go into fairy garden at the end of Steamboat Lane in Waterfront Park. This activity will be held in McKay Pocket Park, on Water Street next to Niche Inc. 

Pottery Demonstration ~ 11:30-12

Margaret Melanson will demonstrate wheel throwing from her downtown pottery studio at 287 Water Street

Live Music ~ 12-1

Enjoy a live music performance from Dave Lawler in the pocket park between Johnson Hall and the Blind Pig Tavern

Origami Peace Crane Making ~ 12-4

Visit the Costell & Costell Gallery and learn how to make an origami peace crane in support of Ukraine and all war-torn countries.

Bubble art & Pinwheel Making ~ 12:30-1:30

 Children are invited to create bubble art and make your own pinwheel at the Ampersand Academy of Dance and Performing Arts studio, 293 Water St

Wine Tasting ~ 1-3

Visit Gardiner’s newest downtown business with a wine tasting event at the Table Bar, 207 Water Street

Mushroom Foraging Talk ~ 1-2

Foraging Fungi Fearlessly

Expert discussion in the Library Hazzard Reading Room

Today’s brief talk will be an introduction mostly for beginners on the rudiments of mushroom identification and foraging practices. A two page hand out with a top edibles species list, do’s and don’ts and a short bibliography will be provided. Hopefully a few chuckles and smiles will be as well!


Richard Tory has been living in the woods in Central Maine for fifty years. He has foraged mushrooms for over 40 years and led walks and workshops for over 30. He owns and runs a small organic farm and is a long time vegetarian and food educator. He volunteers at every event including this one. Not a mycologist, he is self-educated from many books and happily shares what he’s learned. Among various venues, Richie has led walks and talks at Hinckley School and Bates Museum in Fairfield, Messalonskee trails in Waterville/Oakland and an ongoing series for medical residents of the Maine Dartmouth Family Practice in Augusta. He has appeared at Common Ground Country Fair in Unity for many years.

Dance Academy Performance 1:30-2:15

Enjoy a performance from the dancers of Ampersand Academy of Dance and Performing Arts in the pocket park next to Johnson Hall and the Blind Pig Tavern

Judith Long will be giving a demonstration in inking and printing a photogravure plate at Circling the Square Fine Art Press at 2:30. All ages welcome

Afternoon Tea Party ~ 3-4

TEA PARTY at Goldfinch Creamery: Includes finger sandwiches, spinach and feta puff, scones, mini-desserts and choice of hot or cold tea. $10 per person.

Plein Air Fresh Paint Show & Sale ~ 4-5

Artists that have been painting in Gardiner during Festival will have their artworks on sale. 4pm-5pm at Circling The Square Fine Arts press. 

Picnic At The Common

Ice Cream Sundae Bar & 5-7

Christ Church hosts an ice cream sundae bar (by donation) as part of the community picnic at the Common. 

Also enjoy watermelon slices provided by other churches

Rotary Cookout ~ 5-7

The Gardiner Rotary Club will be cooking up hamburgers and hotdogs for purchase. 

Or bring your own picnic items from Gardiner eateries or from home! 

The Rotary will also have a 50/50 raffle to benefit the Lady and the Birds fountain restoration project

Story Walk 5-7

Healthy Communities of the Capital Area hosts an interactive children’s story activity places around the Common

Hallowell Community Band ~ 5:30-6:30

Enjoy a live performance from the Hallowell Community Band from the Bandstand in the Common

Growing Gardiner will be an all-day event with activities for all ages and begins in the downtown at 8:30 am and concludes with a community picnic at the Gardiner Common from 5 to 7:30 pm.

Growing Gardiner is made possible with support from Kennebec Savings Bank.

Begin the event with complimentary coffee at both ends of downtown Water Street and a library plant sale. Throughout the day the library will also host expert speakers on the history of Gardiner, designing a pollinator-friendly garden with native plants, and foraging mushrooms for fun.

Children’s activities will include a library puppet show followed by puppet making crafts, decorating fairy houses for the waterfront fairy garden, a flag-making activity and other fun art activities.

Art lovers and aspiring artists of all ages can watch plein-air artists at work creating landscapes and scenes of the downtown, waterfront and Common, followed by an afternoon display and sale of the fresh art. Explore the art of downtown Gardiner in the galleries and studios along Water Street. Studios will host artist demonstrations such as monotype printing and pottery wheel throwing.

Have fun exploring with a downtown scavenger hunt and get rewarded for supporting small businesses during the event. Gardiner Main Street will be giving away $500 in local shopping certificates, just show them your receipt for $50 or more from a single merchant to enter. Other fun activities and events include a dance performance, drumming circle, live music, and an amazing display of classic antique cars. Special offerings from local restaurants include tea party fare, street food, beer flights and wine tastings.

All are welcome to join at the Gardiner Common for a community picnic starting at 5:00 pm. Bring your own picnic items or purchase burgers and hotdogs from the Gardiner Rotary. Desserts and an ice cream sundae bar (by donation) will be provided by the local churches. The Hallowell Community Band will perform at 5:30 in the Common’s classic gazebo. Families can enjoy games and a story walk set up around the common. The Rotary Club will also host a 50/50 raffle to help reach their goal to restore the Palmer Fountain on the Common.

Whether you’re a local resident or visiting from away all are welcome to spend the day in Gardiner and enjoy our beautiful city and its wonderful community. Please join us and be part of a Growing Gardiner Community!

Thanks to event sponsors Kennebec Savings Bank, Gardiner Main Street and API -A Partner In Technology for their generous support in helping to make this event happen.