The Top Ten Essentials for Young Families to Bring to the American Folk Festival

Strollers, diapers, wipes, snacks, sippy cups, extra clothes, hats, sunscreen… For a young family, packing for a day long excursion can sometimes feel like you are preparing for a week long safari in the outback. It can sometimes be enough to make you want to forget the whole outing together. However, with some smart planning and know-how, it is possible to pack sensibly and have all the essentials to enjoy a day at the American Folk Festival on the Bangor Waterfront. With a special children’s area and a privacy tent for nursing and diaper changes, special children’s performances, as well as many vendors selling healthy snacks, the American Folk Festival is a great opportunity give your kids a worldly experience right here in Bangor.

Here are the top ten suggested items young families should bring to the American Folk Festival:

1. Smart phone – Did you know you can download an American Folk Festival App that will give you all the up-to-date schedules and news while you are at the festival? Avoid the extra paper schedules, get timely updates on performances, alerts when and where your favorite bands are playing, and don’t forget you can save all your favorite American Folk Festival memories with the camera on your phone! Download the App for iPhone or Android now!

2. Stroller/Backpack carrier – Although the stages are reasonably close together, a full day at the festival can mean a lot of walking for young legs. Bring a stroller or backpack carrier to rest little legs or for your little one to catch a snooze in. Many strollers or backpack carriers also have compartments for extra storage.

3. Sunscreen – It’s August and you should always bring ample sunscreen. Although many stages are under a tent and provide adequate shade, the sun’s damaging rays are easily reflected off the water.

4. Hats/Sunglasses –The same reasons as above. Bring sunglasses and hats to protect little eyes and heads!

5. Sippy cup with water – Although vendors selling water are plentiful at the Folk Festival, it’s always best to come prepared and make sure your children are staying hydrated. Also, having a favorite sippy cup in hand can be comforting for young children.

6. Light, healthy snacks – Another nice thing about the festival is that you can find plenty of healthy and organic foods in the food vendor areas. However, especially if your child has special dietary needs, it’s always a good idea to bring a small lunchbox sized cooler that will fit in a backpack with plenty of fresh, healthy snacks to keep your young one’s energy up and the cranky moods at bay.

7. Debit card – Did you know there is an ATM available at the American Folk Festival? Bring only enough cash for what you think you might need and if you need more, you can always visit the ATM.

8. Backpack with basic diapering needs – There is one thing that is usually unavoidable with young kids, and that is the need to change a few diapers during your stay and possibly feed your little one. Luckily, close to the Children’s Area there is a privacy tent just for baby comfort needs complete with a rocking chair and changing area. You may want to bring a spare set of clothes in case of any accidents or if your child gets a little extra ambitious with the water games at the Children’s Area. Another good thing to place in your bag are ear plugs to protect young ears if you plan to sit close to the stage.

9. Light jackets or sweatshirts – The one thing you can count on in Maine is that the weather is always changing. Be sure to check the forecast for the day before you venture out. However, it’s best to at least bring a light jacket anyway, especially if you plan to stay until the evening hours.

10. Large towel or small blanket – If you have never been to the American Folk Festival, you may not be aware that all the tent stages have chairs. However, the Railroad Stage, which is the largest performance area, does not unless you have access to the VIP area. There is a hill further back from the stage that is perfect for spreading a blanket or towel. You can still see the stage well from this location and there is ample room for young ones to dance and play.


Karen Cashman

About Karen Cashman

Karen Cashman APR, MA is Lead Communications Specialist at Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems. She has been a Volunteer and member of the American Folk Festival Committee for the past two years. She lives in Brewer with her husband, Dan and their daughters.