Make way for flamingos

SOUTHWEST HARBOR — Pink is popping up around town and flamingos are flocking in for the annual celebration that takes over the Quietside of Mount Desert Island this time of year.

This Friday the Quietside Flamingo Festival kicks off with a Lobster Bake at 5 p.m. under the tent on Pemetic Green in front of Pemetic Elementary School.

Four days of fun are scheduled from July 13 to 16 with a focus on the iconic pink lawn ornament.

“It’s a community event that we continue to do,” said Diana Novella, events director at Harbor House Community Service Center. “People plan their vacations around it.”

Highlights of the festival are the Saturday morning Flamingo Parade and the cocktail party set for Sunday evening at the Causeway Club Barn.

This year, the festival theme is Under the Sea, which is the focus of many of the parade floats.

“It’s always interesting to see what people come up with based on the theme,” said Novella, who has heard some hubbub about mermaids.

On Friday, July 13, at 5 p.m., a lobster bake sponsored by the American Legion Post 69 will kick things off. Tickets can be purchased at the tent for the dinner. They are not available at Harbor House or sold previous to the event.

Saturday will begin at 7 a.m. with a pancake breakfast under the tent for $5 per person. Served with sausage, orange juice, coffee and blueberry sauce or syrup, pancakes will be available until 8:30 a.m.

At 9:30 a.m. on Saturday the parade begins from the shops on Seal Cove Road, travels down Main Street and turns left onto Clark Point Road. At least 40 floats have registered, representing businesses, nonprofits and other groups.

“It’s all pink and flamingo themed,” said Novella, noting there are floats by MDI Community Sailing Center, Summer Festival of the Arts and A Climate to Thrive expected. “It’s one of those parades where people base it off the theme or they can do whatever they want.”

Those in search of creative, locally made gifts can shop the craft tents in front of both Harbor House and the big tent on the Pemetic Green. More than 30 crafters from MDI and throughout Downeast Maine will feature their wares from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Following the parade on Saturday, there will be kids’ carnival games under the tent on the Pemetic Green from 10 a.m. to noon.

Also from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. kids can enjoy a bounce house, T-ball, Air Game and giant blow up waterslide near the Harbor House. Rodick’s Seaside Take Out will provide ice cream and food during this time.

Further down on Clark Point Road, the U.S. Coast Guard will host an open house from 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

At 1 p.m. on Saturday there will be a Sip n’ Swirl Flamingo Canvas Painting Class under the tent. Participation is $35 and it is possible to register ahead of time by calling Harbor House. A portion of the participation fee is a donation to the Harbor House.

Sunday events include a 4-mile run and the cocktail party at the Causeway Club Barn hosted by the Polo and Yacht Club. The “club” is a tongue-in-cheek affair, gathering once a year for this event.

Folks can register at Tremont Consolidated School starting at 7 a.m. on Saturday to be in the Flamingo 4-Miler. At 8 a.m. a bus will bring runners to the Seawall Picnic Area for an 8:30 a.m. start. From the picnic area runners will travel a course that returns to the Tremont school.

At 9 a.m. on Sunday a Fun Run for kids will begin from the Tremont school and go the half mile down the road adjacent to the school and back. Participants will receive a coupon for a free ice cream.

That evening at 5 p.m. the Polo and Yacht Club will host a Cocktail Party with music from the Tricia Mason Band. Pink attire is highly encouraged and entrance is $35 per person.

According to Novella, this is where the whole flamingo part of the festival began, as a mascot for the Polo and Yacht Club. For many years flamingo lawn ornament creator Don Featherstone and his wife came to town for the event. Featherstone was given the honor of being the Grand Marshal of the parade. He died in 2015.

A coveted item at this point, original design plastic flamingos, embossed with Featherstone’s signature, are on sale at Harbor House for $10 each. Fewer than 70 of these are available, and Novella is telling people to get them while you can.

Monday wraps up the event with a pop-up farmers market under the tent on the Pemetic Green at 10 a.m.

At 7:30 p.m. the steel band Flash in the Pans! will play on the green. The concert is a benefit for both Harbor House and Acadia Family Center.

Call 244-3713 or visit



Sarah Hinckley

Sarah Hinckley

Former Islander reporter Sarah Hinckley covered the towns of Southwest Harbor, Tremont and neighboring islands.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Never miss a beat! Subscribe to our weekly newsletter and get top stories sent straight to your inbox.