Winterfest in the Dooryard; downtown Bangor festival brings community together

Here it is! The first official post where I would like to start off by explaining the title of my blog. “Company in the Dooryard” comes from a joke from an old family friend, a line that describes his feelings when friends and neighbors would unexpectedly show up at his home. “Jeezum, compny’s in the dooryahd,” he would say from his kitchen window, a bit curmudgeonly, but still with his salty and inherent humor.

While it was somewhat of an inconvenience to have “company in the dooryard,” I think if Bryce and I want to continue to make Bangor our home, we need to have company in the dooryard. We need to make connections with our new neighbors and embrace all the opportunities we have by living in the heart of downtown. 

To be a part of such company, I decided to partake in Winterfest Bangor. An event initiated by local business leaders, Winterfest was set up as a way for the community to get together and get to West Market Square, the festival’s home base. With all the deals of the day; coffee samples, food samples, beer tastings, music from Lumberjacks in Love and much more, the downtown business community worked to create an even larger sense of community. The City and business owners even meticulously shoveled and removed the several feet of snow from last week to make Winterfest an accessible event.

Bryce had to work, so I was nervous to attend by myself. Luckily, the free wine tasting at Blaze forced me to put on my big girl pants and get out the door.

I made my way down Main Street toward Blaze’s patio. Groups of friends flocked to the tasting, enjoying wine next to one of the many fires. Children played corn hole toss games in the Square and friends took pictures next to the snowmen built in front of Happy Endings, some were even dressed in Lumberjack attire, the theme of this year’s festivities.

I got my little paper cup of white wine and internally “cheers’d” myself. I sipped quickly as I awkwardly shuffled into the corner of the patio to make room for the growing crowd.

I somewhat hoped for a rowdy crowd; a group of fellow wine-lovers who were celebrating a sun-streamed afternoon by joyously toasting everyone involved—even somebody who showed up alone and didn’t know anybody—somebody like me. I imagined the scene from Titanic where Rose parties all night and makes friends with all the swearing, drinking and arm-wrestling passengers.

Even though it’s the greatest movie of all time, I guess that scene wasn’t the most applicable to every day life. Because that didn’t happen.

Instead, I tossed back the rest of my wine and scurried off, taking time to browse Mexicali Blues, the Rock & Art Shop and then wander through a snowy courtyard into the UMaine Museum of Art.  The Museum was empty but the quiet allowed me to think. I pulled out my phone to document fleeting blog ideas before they were lost. But the quiet was also disheartening; I was alone.

This post is to acknowledge the potential of what is here—how I just need to walk out my front door to be a part of an active community. It’s also to acknowledge a sobering moment (despite the wine). I can’t wait for things to happen to me.  Making downtown Bangor my home, meeting my “company,” finding my niche—it will require me to do more than just be here, I have to be involved here.

This is to acknowledge that, like most things, settling here will be a process.

Still, it’s one I look forward to.

Rebecca Reisman

About Rebecca Reisman

My name is Rebecca Reisman. I am an aspiring writer. While I love being a Mainer, it can be challenging as a twenty-something year old to find incentives to stay in a state with a declining population and fewer opportunities. But I love it here. That’s what this blog is about; exploring and connecting to my new community in downtown Bangor while finding a way to settle down in my beloved home state.