1. It’s the first of two big autumn-tastic weekends in downtown Bangor, starting with Nocturnem Drafthaus’ second annual Oktoberfest and SausageFest celebration, featuring German beers and an array of sausages all afternoon and evening, and music from maritime rockers the Galley Rats on Thursday, swingin’ cats Three Button Deluxe on Friday, and rockers Magnetic North on Saturday, with German music with Amy and the Oompahs on the deck. Plenty else to see elsewhere in Bangor, though, with Friday bringing Rotating Taps (pictured) to Paddy Murphy’s, jam band Gorilla Finger at Ipanema, Lewiston Jones & the Cadillac Bastards at the Big Easy, Mellow Endeavor at Hollywood Casino, and at Phoenix Pub, there’s an 80s and 90s dance party. On Saturday, enjoy the Blast Addicts at Paddy’s, One Shot Nothing at the Big Easy, the 220s at Ipanema, Rock Revelation at Hollywood Casino, and in Winterport, you can close out the Lawn Chair Concert Series at 4Points BBQ & Blues with none other than Maine legends Rustic Overtones.
2. Reggae and ska fans definitely want to be at Geno’s in Portland this weekend, as there’s a reggae night on Friday with both DJs and live performers, followed by a show from ska legends the Toasters (pictured) on Saturday. Elsewhere in town, on Friday there’s North of Nashville at the Big Easy, at One Longfellow Square there’s a bluegrass bash featuring a wide array of Maine players, at the Asylum it’s a 90s rock two-fer with Fountains of Wayne and Soul Asylum, and at Mayo Street Arts there’s a record release party for songwriter Sammie Francis. On Saturday, at the Big Easy there’s Shupe’s Ball, a rap night benefiting cancer-stricken rapper El Shupacabra, at the Space Gallery there’s the evocative songwriter Angel Olson with Pillars & Tongues and Lisa/Liza, and at the State Theatre there’s a concert from New England jam band legends Strangefolk. And of course, all weekend there’s the Oak and the Ax Festival at the venue of the same name in Biddeford, which will present a mix of Maine indie, folk and experimental bands with bands from around the country, like New Orleans bounce artist Vockah Redu, melodic Northwestern band Lake and Providence folk-rockers the Low Anthem.
3. Holy moly, are there a lot of events happening for Great Maine Outdoor Weekend! The yearly celebration of all things outdoors and beautiful in Maine — set for Friday, Saturday and Sunday all over the state — offers activities ranging from paddling Pemaquid Pond and hiking Gulf Hagas to mushroom hunting through the western Maine woods and bird watching in Rockport. You can even meet the guys from the Animal Planet show “North Woods Law,” on Saturday morning at Maine Wildlife Park in Gray. Odds are, if you live in Maine you love the outdoors. It’s hard not to. For a full schedule of events for the full weekend, organized by the Maine Outdoor Coalition, visit the website.
4. In keeping with the whole “lots to do” idea, let’s not forget that it’s also Camden International Film Festival weekend – four days of some of the most innovative and challenging documentaries made in the last year, from filmmakers from around the world. It starts Thursday night, with a screening of the charming love story doc “Cutie and the Boxer,” and continues through Sunday night, with films ranging from “Expedition to the End of the World,” about a tall ship sailing through the Arctic; “Caucus,” about the 2012 Republican caucuses; and three morning programs of wonderfully entertaining and/or inspiring short documentaries. Individual screenings are $10, or it’s $85 for a festival pass; a VIP pass is $175, and includes all the fun parties. For info, visit camdenfilmfest.org.
5. Maybe you just want some wings, and some beer, and some MMA fighters, and some golf and mustaches and a mechanical bull. Maybe you just want to kick back with all your manly man friends — and your manly lady friends too! — and enjoy all that there is to offer at the first-ever BDN Maine Man Expo, set for Saturday and Sunday at the Cross Insurance Center. There’s an ugly tattoo contest, an arm wrestling contest, a performance from Paranoid Social Club, and even a pie eating contest. Gates open at 10 a.m. both days and admission is $5, free for kids 12 and under. BYOMW: bring your own mustache wax.