(NEWS CENTER) -- The 41st annual Old Port Festival is set to be bigger and better than ever. Organizers say the festival is the largest one day festival in Maine, attracting more than 50,000 people to the city for live music, food and fun, but in recent years the event has been a victim of its own success.
"The one day event had kind of outgrown its boundaries, in a sense," explained Steve Hewins, Executive Director of Portland's Downtown District. "In fact, some people perhaps might not come because it was so crowded, so we felt by expanding to three days we could feature more of Portland, not just the Old Port area, but the rest of Portland."
This year, the three day festival will begin with an expanded First Friday Art Walk on the evening of June 6th. Congress Street from Longfellow Square to Monument Square will be closed to vehicle traffic, allowing people and performers to have more room to roam. There will be two special performances by members of the Circus Conservatory of America in Monument Square that evening.
On Saturday June 7th, the focus of the festivities will be along the waterfront. From 11am until 3pm the public will be invited to explore the inner workings of the working waterfront. Piers from the Maine State Pier down to Becky's Restaurant will be open for folks to stroll down, providing a unique opportunity for residents and visitors alike.
"The port defines this city, it has for hundreds of years," stated John Spritz, with Growing Portland. "Come out and enjoy all that Portland has, the great history and the traditions, the businesses that are out here, that make this an extraordinary water-side community."
There will also be a city-wide scavenger hunt on Saturday with prizes awarded to the teams with the most points collected.
Then on Sunday June 8th, the Old Port Festival returns with six stages featuring live performances from local and national acts. The day will also feature food vendors, arts and crafts displays and activities for all ages.
"We are stronger as a city every time we involve more people in an event," said Mayor Michael Brennan. "To have three days now that we can focus on this part of the city, I think is going to be a great economic and social boost to the city."