YORK, Maine — York Days returns this month with more than a week of events and activities including a movie on the beach, 5K race, Nubble Lighthouse lighting and craft fair featuring more than 75 vendors.
This year’s York Days, which will run from Friday, July 29 through Sunday, Aug. 7, is a true return to normalcy following the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, according to York Parks and Recreation Special Events Coordinator Liz Cooper. It marks the return of movie night on the beach and live music for the lighting of the Nubble, both of which were canceled or altered in the last two years due to COVID-19.
“We’re kind of going back to normal, or at least pre-COVID,” said Cooper.
Movie night on the beach
This year’s movie night will take place Friday, July 29 at 8 p.m. by the Long Sands bathhouse featuring the 2021 reboot of “Tom and Jerry.” families will be allowed to finally return to the sand and freely pick their place to lie on a blanket and watch.
Last year, Parks and Recreation held their movie viewing at the Bog Road field complex where spaces were painted in the concrete for attendees, distanced to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“We had to limit the number of people, paint circles,” Cooper said. “This is back to ‘bring your beach blanket, enjoy on the beach.’”
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The movies are well attended by both locals and vacationers, she said, drawing between 200 to 250 people for the beach viewing.
“As many as can fit and still see the screen,” Cooper said. “We see from young families to groups of teenagers enjoying it.”
2nd Mount Agamenticus Plein Air Paint Out
The Friends of Mount Agamenticus will host the second annual Plein Air Paint Out on Saturday, July 30th as part of York Days celebrations.
Artist registration is now closed for this event, but the public is invited to spectate as artists create their work on and around the summit of Mount A from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and to attend the artists’ reception from 5 to 7 p.m. at York Art Association Gallery where finished paintings will be on display and available to purchase.
During this second year of hosting the Plein Air Paint Out, the Friends of Mount Agamenticus are excited to welcome new participants, as well as the many artists returning for the event.
Additionally, Anchorage by the Sea – Ogunquit has generously provided a $500 Purchase Prize for the event. They will choose the painting of their preference and award the Purchase Prize directly to the artist.
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York Art Association (YAA) is located at 394 York Street, York Harbor and is open Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. A 40% commission on work sold will support YAA and the Friends of Mount Agamenticus, both nonprofit 501c3 organizations. This exhibit runs through the month of August.
York Days 5K race kicks off July 31
The annual York Days 5K will take place July 31 with sign-ups being $25 per person. The race benefits youth programming throughout York and this year has a little over 200 people signed up so far. Participants can also participate by completing the race virtually between July 23 and 31 on a course of their choosing.
The lighting of the Nubble Lighthouse
The summer lighting of the Nubble Lighthouse will take place from July 29 to Aug. 7.
On Sunday, July 31, there will be live music featuring the Portsmouth Brass Quintet.
Cooper said the Nubble serves as one of York’s biggest draws, and the lighting is one of the biggest attractions for York Days as well.
“I would say the Nubble lovers of the world are definitely a strong group,” Cooper said. “For those that can’t be here in the fall, it’s a way for them to see what the Nubble looks like during the holidays.”
The summer lighting is a relatively new tradition that now precedes the fall lighting, which has gone on for the last 30 years. The fall lighting is significantly busier, Cooper said, but the summer version allows people to enjoy the live music and see the lighting occur at sunset rather than in pitch black.
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Maine State Sailing Championship
This year’s York Days falls on the same week that York hosts the Maine State C420 Championship for sailing.
One hundred of New England’s best small boat sailors will converge on York Harbor to compete on Monday and Tuesday, August 1st and 2nd, in the regatta hosted jointly this year by Agamenticus Yacht Club and the town of York.
The event comes to town after the Agamenticus Yacht Club took first place in last year’s competition. The winning team hosts the following year of each championship.
Harbor Beach will be open, but Harbor Beach Road will be closed to vehicle traffic and parking Aug. 1-2 to allow for the safe unloading, rigging and storage of all boats participating in the championship. York Parks & Rec plans to provide a shuttle service from St George's Church to help facilitate easy access to Harbor Beach during the regatta.
York Days Craft Fair to feature 75 plus vendors
The York Days Craft Fair returns Aug. 6 and 7 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, then 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday at the York Beach Ball Field rain or shine. There will be more than 75 vendors of homemade goods with food for sale and free face painting.
The craft fair is growing since last year when there were about 60 to 70 vendors, according to Cooper. She said 95% are from New England, coming from Maine, New Hampshire and Massachusetts. She said the local American Legion post will be selling breakfast and lunch.
Cooper said Parks and Recreation was grateful this year to receive six times the number of sponsors that it did last year for York Days. The week of events goes back to at least the first York Days 5K 39 years ago, and she said it has proven to be a tradition for locals and vacationers alike. Many people plan their stays at York Beach around the week of York Days.
“People really pick a vacation on York Days because they want to be there for these events,” Cooper said. “I think visitors are excited.”
Schedule of events
July 23–30: Virtual York Days 5K Road Race.
July 29 to Aug. 7: Summer lighting of the Nubble
July 29: Family Film Night, showing "Tom & Jerry" at 8 p.m.
July 31: York Days 5K Road Race
July 31: Live music at the summer lighting of the Nubble
July 30th: Second Annual Plein Air Paint Out
Aug. 6-7: York Days Craft Fair
Aug. 7: York Days Fireworks on Short Sands Beach at 9 p.m., sponsored by the York Beach Fire Department
This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: York Days 2022: Nubble Lighthouse lighting, sailing, fireworks and more