ROCKPORT—Perhaps before this weekend, not many people knew that the creator of the Donut Hole, Captain Hanson Crockett Gregory, lived in Rockport, Maine. They do now.
The site where the Nativity Lutheran Church is located is the birthplace of Capt. Hanson Gregory and where the only monument to the donut hole in Rockport is located.
Starting on National Donut Day (June 2) the town of Rockport kicked off an inaugural weekend filled with donut-themed festivities. The Rockport Donut Festival was created to pay homage to the doughnut's history.
After a stellar nearly 80-degree day leading up to the weekend, Friday and Saturday plunged into the mid-40s with rain—April temperatures!—but that didn’t stop people from coming out for a dance party on Friday night with the super funky Motor Booty Affair under a tent in Rockport Harbor.
Saturday’s main events included a parade down Main Street where fire trucks, schoolchildren, families dressed up in festive wear, and bystanders all cheered as they wound their way down to the harbor.
Hundreds of people flooded into Rockport Harbor on foot where there were food trucks, a donut truck with the banner: “Not responsible for donut addiction,” and a large tent set up with donut vendors and coffee stations. It was a cheery sight to see people crowded around a table munching on a pile of donuts. All of the vendors sold out of their donuts due to the overwhelming demand.
As the day ran on, so did citizens of the Midcoast, undeterred by the cold rain. About 190 people registered for The Friends of the Rockport Public Library’s Donut Dash 5K Family Fun. The 140 runners who actually came out, called “The Donut Dashers”—the most ever for a 5K run said the organizers—ran the 5K Rockport route. See our PenBay Pilot story for winners and photos.
All day long, other festivities included a book sale at the Rockport Library, donut games and activities for children, a cornhole competition, a homemade donut contest, and a talk about “The Hole History” with Alexis Iammarino, a Rockland artist, who organized a public history show, “Hole History: Origins of American-Style Donut” in a story I wrote for Pen Bay Pilot in 2016.
Saturday evening’s events capped off with a special Dinner on The Bridge (which, due to the weather, turned out to be Dinner under the Tent) and another dance party with DJ D-Vice spinning.
“We have so much gratitude for all who came out to support our inaugural Rockport Donut Festival,” said organizer Kari Luehman. “This weekend was certainly a testament to the hardiness of our community and a big celebration of circular joy— in all ways — eating, playing, dancing, and being together in community. We hope you found moments of sweetness and connection... and were able to savor some delicious donuts!”
For more information, videos, and photos of the weekend visit The Rockport Donut Festival’s Facebook page.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org