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May 2, 2018

Breaking: Kennebunkport Festival 2018 is a 'go' after all

A grassroots coalition stepped up to resurrect the popular food-based Kennebunkport Festival, which will go ahead next month as originally planned.

The action comes three days after Maine Media Collective cancelled this year's festival in the wake of allegations that the media company's owner, Kevin Thomas, had made unwanted sexual advances toward an employee eight years ago. Those allegations became public last week with stories published by The Bollard and the Portland Press Herald, following the employee's blog post on the Medium website.

"Overwhelmingly, the community believes passionately in the potential of the festival as a positive force in the Kennebunks and will do everything possible to make it a success," newly appointed festival Director Emily McConnell said in a news release sent to Mainebiz on Wednesday afternoon. "With events just a month away, we are committed to moving quickly to put the right infrastructure in place for scheduling, ticketing, and permitting, but ask for a bit of patience as we do so."

The Kennebunkport Festival will take place June 4-9, after 40-plus community members representing restaurants, business owners, hoteliers, home owners and sponsors voted unanimously to move forward with the popular series of fundraising events, designed to raise money for a variety of charitable foundations, according to the news release.

Events at the new Kennebunkport Festival will be ticketed on an individual basis and more information will be shared as it becomes available.

McConnell advised that people who purchased tickets prior to the change in event management should seek a full refund from Maine Magazine and then repurchase tickets through individual event hosts or through the new website, when they become available.

The charitable-giving component remains the focus and most important reason for continuing with the festival, the new organizers stated.

Within this new format, McConnell said organizers expect each event will support one or more local not-for-profit of the hosts' choice, such as the Kennebunk High School art program and local food pantries, among others to be named.

Confirmed events for the new festival include three Art of Dining Dinners: Chef Pierre Gignac of Ocean at the Cape Arundel Inn & Resort at Louise Hurlburtt's residence on Tuesday, June 5; Executive Chef John Shaw of The Boathouse Restaurant at Kristen Kuehnle's home on Tuesday, June 5; and Executive Chef Joseph Schafer of Earth at Hidden Pond at the home of Tim Harrington on Wednesday, June 6.

Old Vines Wine Bar in Kennebunk will host an event on Thursday, June 7; and the Maine Art Hill Block Party hosted at Maine Art Hill will take place on Friday, June 8.

Other events, including several more Art of Dining dinners, will be announced shortly, festival organizers stated.

For more information, go to the new festival website or call 207-323-2333. Ticket purchasing and additional confirmed event information will continue to be shared upon availability.

Read more

'New' Kennebunkport Festival seen as big success

Investor group with a range of business interests buys Maine Media Collective's assets

'Grassroots' coalition steps in to save Kennebunkport Festival

Maine Media Collective severs ties with owner, cancels festival

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