Moe Poulin, center, orders a beer from Christy Cain, owner and brewer of Lisbon Falls’ Olive Pit Brewing, at the 2022 Great Falls Brewfest at Simard-Payne Park in Lewiston. Andree Kehn/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Great Falls Brewfest is about more than just beer.

While many beer festivals focus only on “bringing breweries together,” Baxter Outdoors Events and Entertainment Manager Lilly Gardiner said the Great Falls Brewfest has a loftier goal – bringing Lewiston-Auburn together.

The festival will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. Saturday, June 22, at Simard-Payne Memorial Park at 46 Beech St.

Although Lewiston-Auburn’s annual beer extravaganza used to center on the breweries, Baxter Outdoors “always felt like there was something missing from the event. It lacked character. It lacked a story,” Gardiner explained.

After listening to community feedback, Baxter Outdoors leaders decided the solution was to make Great Falls Brewfest bigger and better than ever before by adding expanded entertainment and dining options. In addition to nearly 50 breweries, it will feature nonalcoholic beverages, food trucks, ax throwing, cornhole, disc golf, caricature drawings and more.

Leaders also decided the festival should give back to the community. A percentage of the proceeds will go to the One Lewiston Resilience Fund and the rest to other Maine nonprofits.


Created by the city of Lewiston and the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, the fund will be used to create a memorial to the victims of last year’s mass shooting in Lewiston and, according to the fund’s website, spearhead community events that will help “the city move forward.”

To raise as much money as possible for the fund, Gardiner said Baxter Outdoors wants to “bring close to 2,000 people to Lewiston-Auburn” — another incentive for their decision to scale-up the festival by adding options and activities.

Aside from promoting community solidarity and development, the festival can also help Lewiston-Auburn heal, Gardiner said.

“Lewiston needs more,” she said. “We need more reasons to get out of the house. We need more reasons to get together. We have to keep strong. We have to keep (our) resilience. If people just run away from this place and stop throwing large-scale events . . . it’s not going to be good for us.”

General session tickets are $45. “Designated Driver” tickets can be purchased for $15. The festival will also offer VIP session tickets for $60, which enables early access to the festival at 12 p.m.

Although ticket-holders can enjoy unlimited 4-ounce sample pours from all participating breweries, the cost of buying items from the food trucks is not included in the ticket price. To attend Great Falls Brewfest, all event-goers must be 21 years old.


The festival is organized by Baxter Outdoors, which is “completely separate from” Baxter Brewing.

Founded by Auburn City Councilor Adam Platz, Baxter Outdoors is all about “creating events that embrace Maine scenery,” said Gardiner. From 5K races to outdoor concerts and even Nordic skiing, Baxter Outdoors is “not so much about the beer itself. It’s more about community spirit and getting people out to work together — to not only enjoy Maine, but also enjoy a beer at the same time,” Gardiner said.

In addition to the Great Falls Brewfest, Baxter Outdoors’ leaders have been inspired to host as many Lewiston-Auburn-based events as possible — with all the proceeds going to charity.

Explaining Baxter Outdoors’ decision, Gardiner said, “that’s what we can do right now to give back.”

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