Throughout the year, Lewiston and Auburn offer unique events and activities that draw hundreds of thousands of visitors. The Great Falls Balloon Festival (D1), the largest of its kind in New England, is the jewel of L/A’s summer festivals. In August, thousands of spectators sample local food, music and crafts while hot air balloons float through the skies over the twin cities. Other festivals include the Liberty Festival (D2), the Moxie Festival (H10), Festival FrancoFun (D2) and the Greek Festival (F8). 2009 was the inaugural year for The Dempsey Challenge (C2), which now brings several thousand to the area to compete in cycling, running and walking to benefit the Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope and Healing at Central Maine Medical Center (C2). In 2010, Baxter Brewing Company (D2) opened its doors in the renovated historic Bates Mill.
Historical walking tours provide history buffs a glance into the past with more than 100 historically significant sites, including Sts. Peter and Paul Basilica (D2), Kora Shrine Temple (C2), Museum L/A (D1), the Androscoggin Historical Society (C1) and several renovated textile mills. Art aficionados stop at the Bates College Museum of Art (C3), Gallery 5 (D2) on Lisbon Street in downtown Lewiston and the Atrium Art Gallery (G8) at Lewiston-Auburn College (G8).
The performing arts are a major draw in the L/A area with The Public Theatre (D2), Community Little Theatre (D1), Maine Music Society (D2), L/A Arts (D2), Schaeffer Theatre at Bates College (C3), the Midcoast Symphony Orchestra (D2) and the new performance venue at the Franco-American Heritage Center (D2) in the renovated St. Mary’s Church (D2). The area now boasts a community arts calendar, which identifies hundreds of performances annually. That calendar can be seen online at www.laarts.org. There are also more than 10 venues which offer live entertainment on a nightly basis.
Within a short distance of L/A, other places of interest include the Washburn-Norlands Living History Center in Livermore (B8), the Shaker Village in New Gloucester (H6), the Poland Spring Preservation Park (G6) and Poland Spring Museum (H6) and, of course, LL Bean in Freeport (I9,10).