Dear Maine Summer 2020,

I don't even know you, yet I feel like at least partially, I already lost you.

Each year, summer is such a treat. It's our little reward for putting up with potentially 9 months of snow. We Mainers (especially those of us who don't participate in winter sports/activities), don't take a moment of summer for granted. We hike our favorite trails, relax on our favorite beaches, and explore all the forts and lighthouses around the state.

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This year, we'll be able to do some of those things, thankfully. Some, sooner than others. But they won't be the same. We'll be met with people in masks on the trails. We'll think twice about joining in a game of beach volleyball at Old Orchard Beach. But again, at least they're still around. Other activities, not so much.

First, the Yarmouth Clam Festival was canceled. Then the Rockland Lobster Festival. The Beach to Beacon 10k. All iconic events. Events that drew in huge crowds, largely, from out of state. Our communities will suffer huge economic losses from the cancellation of these events alone.

Photo from Michael Leonard

Then we learned that there will be no Funtown Splashtown this year. Honestly, it's been a few years since I've visited, but Funtown has been a constant for my entire 30 years of life here in Maine. I can't even wrap my head around it. No Dragon's Decent belly flops. No waiting in line for the very front or the very back of the Excalibur. No wishing the Go Carts could go just a little bit faster.

Funtown Splashtown USA via Facebook

Gone are my plans for nights out with my friends in The Old Port. While the bars and restaurants will be operating in the capacities allowed by Governor Mills' Phasing plan, I realize I'm not going to be dancing to my favorite band outside Amigo's. I'm not going to be standing shoulder to shoulder with friends and strangers at Gritty's. I won't be standing on the stairs outside of Lincoln's with a dozen other people waiting to get in. At least not anytime soon.

Is it the end of the world? No. But it's a bummer and it's okay to feel bummed about these little happy moments we look forward to every summer.

But, you know what?

There's so much we won't miss out on. So much opportunity to grow friendships on a more personal level.

I half-jokingly posted to Facebook, "I'm honestly just assuming everything is cancelled so you people with big yards, fire pits, pools, boats, etc. better get ready because we're hanging out this summer."

Here's the thing, groups more than 10 can (tentatively) get together in June, and hopefully increasing from there. Nothing is stopping you from getting together with the crew for a backyard bash. Of course, use your best judgment based on the circumstances of the time, but it's not like we have a lot of other commitments at this point. Bust out those corn hole boards. Make some s'mores. Have a beer and crank some tunes. Wear a mask if that makes you feel more comfortable. Stay 6 feet away. But don't let summer slip away simply because things are different.

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And you know what? 50 people pooling cash could make for a decent event. Maybe hire that local band or musician you haven't seen in months. They'll appreciate the gig as much, if not more, than you appreciating them performing.

Summer 2020, you're going to look a lot different than we all anticipated. You're going to be relatively quiet. You're going to hurt a lot of businesses. But you might also bring us back to those relationships that are important. You might encourage us to enjoy the beauty of Maine a little bit more.

Summer 2020, this is not what I wanted, but something good is bound to come out of this, right?

-B

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