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Festivals, concerts, chili and more

WELLS, Maine — The crowds of people sunbathing on Wells Beach this week, walking along the surf and reading books in a lounge chair made one thing abundantly clear.

Summer is just around the corner and people are ready for some fun.

Wells is ready too, with a summer schedule full of car shows and food trucks, concerts, a new museum, new additions to the food scene and more.

Congdon’s After Dark returns with new food trucks

Congdon’s After Dark kicked off its eighth season on Thursday, May 23 with a new food truck lineup and even more live music and Maine craft beer.

The food truck park, located outside Congdon’s Donuts on Route 1 in Wells, will house between 8 and 10 food trucks each evening, Thursday through Sunday, until the end of June, when the park will be open daily and remain open until Labor Day.

The park opened in 2017 with three food trucks and has grown every season. Gary Leech, who owns Congdon’s with his wife Diane, said they are proud to have become a local summer tradition for residents and visitors alike.

“We are always trying to improve the park and have a lot of great things in store this year,” Leech said.

This season 27 trucks are planned. The park will feature more live music, balloon artists, several new food trucks, a new truck configuration, a balloon artist and several other exciting features.

The park’s Beer Garden maintains its “Maine Menu,” featuring craft beers from local Maine breweries. This includes a unique trio of brews infused with flavors from Congdon’s donuts: the Chocolate Cream Donut Stout, made by Barreled Souls Brewing Company in Saco, in addition to the Raspberry Jelly Donut IPA and Honey Dip Blonde, both from Mast Landing Brewing Company in Westbrook.

The park’s weekly fundraiser, Tenth Tuesdays, begins July 2 and helps a new nonprofit organization each week.

The park will organize free car shows every Monday from July 1.

The park is open from 4:00 PM to 8:00 PM and some trucks stay open later. Free parking is available on site. Pets are welcome, provided they are kept on a leash.

New food trucks this year include Crispy Gai, Falafel Mafia, Fred’s Fried Dough, Momma Baldacci’s, Terra Firma Food Truck and Vy Banh Mi.

The food truck lineup changes nightly and includes vegan and gluten-free options. The schedule is available at cadfoodtrucks.com.

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Free concerts in Wells Harbor all summer long

The 2024 Wells Harbor Summer Concert Series will bring music to the ears of beachgoers every Saturday evening this summer, from June 22 through August 31.

The shows start at 6pm and are performed at the Hope Hobbs Gazebo at 331 Harbor Road.

Scheduled entertainers include The Rockin’ Daddios, The Fossils, Deep Blue C Studio Orchestra, The Reminisants, JC and the Elvis Experience, The Party Starters, North River Music, Club Soda Band, All Together Now: The Beatles and Finest Kind Country Band .

Parking is free.

The park has benches, which are filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so be sure to bring your own blankets and folding chairs in case you miss a spot.

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Wells Fire Museum now open

The Wells Fire Museum recently opened at 1358 Branch Road at Route 9A, offering people an opportunity on rainy summer days – or anytime – to view photos and artifacts from local firefighting history.

According to the Wells Chamber of Commerce, visitors will find everything from three pieces of equipment ranging from the early 20th century to the 1950s, to equipment from the late 1800s to the present. The museum also displays numerous photographs, newspaper clippings and many other items.

The museum is open seasonally from 5:00 PM to 8:00 PM on Mondays, from 12:00 PM to 3:00 PM on Wednesdays and from 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM on Saturdays. Private tours can be arranged.

For more information, call 207-337-1853 or visit online at wellsfiremuseum.org.

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HarborFest returns with family fun

Wells HarborFest, billed by the city as a “cheap, fun few hours,” returns to Wells Harbor on Saturday, July 27, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Located at 331 Harbor Road, the day’s festivities and attractions included a Lobster Trap Toss competition, antique cars, a Wells Fire Department obstacle course, a Wells Police Department K-9 demonstration, a ‘Drone Zone’ , live dancing, making sand castles, and much more. The Rotary Club of Wells will also be holding a barbecue there.

“There will be fun for the whole family,” organizers said on the city’s website.

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Wells Chili Fest brings the heat

The annual Wells Chili Fest takes place on Saturday, August 24 from 11am to 3pm at Wells Junior High School on Route 1.

Cookoff participants are judged in several categories, but the real winners are those who attend and enjoy the samples.

This is serious business: the event is sanctioned by the International Chili Society. Visit the events page on the City of Wells website for more information.

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New restaurants and more in Wells

Bake Maine is a new breakfast, lunch and pastry shop, filled with sweet and savory offerings, located at 2178 Post Road. Local couple Kristen and Doug Perry opened the business in early May.

Although Bake Maine is new to Wells, it is actually the second store with that name. The Perrys opened their first in Portland in early 2023. Based on the rapid success of that operation, they decided to expand their business to their hometown.

Kristen handles the sweet half of the store’s menu and Doug handles the savory.

Bake Maine’s menu features eight sandwiches for breakfast and seven for lunch, as well as a Power Bowl salad and the soup of the day. The idea, the Perrys said, is to focus on their unique offerings and leave room to shake things up with specials.

“We don’t want to do what everyone else is doing,” Doug said.

As for the pastries, it’s Kristen in the kitchen making croissants, scones, tarts, French macaroons and more.

For your summer parties and barbecues, there’s a new beer and wine shop in town. Bow Street Beverage Superstore recently opened at 655 Post Road on Route 1. The store specializes in wines, local craft beers and offers discounts on regular drinks.

Also new is Kai Asia Fusion, which serves sushi and a wide variety of other Japanese and Chinese dishes, at 2063 Post Road.

Tony Lin and his wife Louisa, owner of the restaurant, opened their business in February, moving to the community from their original location in Sanford-Springvale.

Not only the location of the restaurant is new, but also the menu. Kai Asian Fusion now offers poke bowls, which mix rice or salad with choices of protein, vegetables, toppings and sauces. Also new to the Wells menu are bubble tea drinks, in which small tapioca pearls float.

The restaurant also now serves a lot more Chinese food than the Sanford spot.

And of course there’s the sushi, served at a bar at the back of the dining room.

Rollover Café: New owners are taking over the popular Wells Beach spot. This is what is planned

New owners at Rollover Cafe, New England House Seafood & Sports Bar

Rollover Cafe, located at 358 Mile Road, is now open with new owners, Steven and Cynthia Gibbs and Adreanna and David Spezzaferro, who purchased the beloved beach stop in January. The two couples have renovated the building and plan to keep it open until October.

“The previous owners did a fantastic job creating a community atmosphere that we are very keen to continue,” Steven said earlier this year. “This will be a homely restaurant where you get friendly service, delicious food at a reasonable price and everything is made with a lot of love and care.”

The cafe, which serves breakfast and lunch, is open seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Rollover Cafe keeps up with the previous owners and is pet friendly.

There’s another old spot in town with brand new owners keeping the tradition alive while building the brand. Also in January, business partners Ian Miller and Morey Highbarger purchased the New England House Seafood & Sports Bar at 124 Post Road.

The restaurant specializes in seafood, which Miller and Highbarger purchase directly from fish cutting houses and fishing wharves. The restaurant also offers burgers, chicken dinners and other dishes — all “casual Maine dining,” as Miller put it during an interview earlier this year.

“We use high quality ingredients, not processed stuff,” Miller said. “We make all our own sauces – you know, the tartar sauce, the honey mustard and barbecue, ranch, blue cheese, all of that is very well received by everyone.”

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Brettski’s Beach Shuttle: ‘Let us take you to your happy place’

Anyone who has visited Wells Beach can tell you that the parking lot is almost always full on nice summer days. Locals and tourists alike are no strangers to repeatedly driving in a loop, passing Forbes restaurant and other stops, waiting for a spot to open up.

The Wells Chamber of Commerce recently welcomed a new service that can save you that time-consuming hassle. Brettski’s Beach Shuttle offers a fun way to get to the beach, restaurants and elsewhere without having to hope to find a place to park your car.

The new Wells-based taxi service has the tagline: “Let us take you to your happy place.”

For information, call or text 207-604-3981 or find their page on Facebook.

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