Article last updated 2/2023!
Our favorite Sanford event (there, we said it!!) is just around the corner and even though many of you have already attended this fabulous community event (now in its
5th 6th year), the event is still growing rapidly, and that means, tons of Porchfest newbies will be joining us this year! We couldn’t be more excited about that, so we wanted to take a few minutes to give everyone who has never attended, or anyone who needs a few little reminders about the festival, some of our top tips on how to do Porchfest…
Click here to download the 2023 Performer Schedule – 17 Porches and over 70 Bands!
What to bring:
- Cooler – for non-alcoholic drinks 😉
- Lawn Chair/Blanket
- Reusable water bottle
- Cash – All of the porches have tip jars & the money goes right back into our community, more about this below. You will also come across kids raising money by selling things such a lemonade and cookies!
- Wagon, backbacks or something to carry around your Porchfest gear (or pals) easily
- Snacks or pack a picnic (support local businesses, we recommend stopping at the Sanford Farmer’s market or Magnolia Square Market for sandwiches and Sther items, or grab a coffee or tea at The Sanford Collective or another coffee shop downtown.)
- Sun protection: Sunscreen/Hat, sunglasses
- Comfy clothes and shoes for getting around
- Hand wipes (towels)
- Flashlight – Porchfest continues after dark so plan on making it back to your car or Downtown safely.
- Your Porchfest Outfit!! We get asked every year where we got our Porchfest tanks and shirts. The answer is simple: at the merch booth – BUT: you must come early!! These shirts sell out almost every year and if you want to look the part, you don’t want to miss out on these special (collectible) shirts. We actually wear them proudly year round! Side note: there will also be a special pre-sale event on Thursday, February 17th during Sanford’s Art and Jazz Night at Jeanine Taylor Folk Art Gallery on First Street. So if you have the time, stop by at 6pm and grab one of the coveted shirts – only while supplies last!!
- Your Game Plan: If you have time to come up with a Porchfest game plan ahead of time using the online map, write down your “must sees” as well as bands that might interest you, but in our experience, you’ll end up where you might least expect it in the end, just because the atmosphere and vibe was perfect in the moment. So our tip is: go with the flow, and discover new bands, and make new friends, that’s what Porchfest is all about!
- A Positive Attitude and a Grateful Heart – Porchfest is an amazing community event and brings all of us together so be sure to be kind to one another and just enjoy the day! It takes a lot to make Porchfest happen and there is a lot that goes on behind the scenes before, during, and after Porchfest, so if you see someone in a volunteer shirt be sure to give them a high five! Thank the artists and vendors. And please remember that you are hanging out in a neighborhood and watching the bands live on someone’s porch so be sure to respect the area you are in. Dance. Smile. Eat. Laugh. Chat. Sing along and simply enjoy this amazing day!
Tips for going with kids:
- Kids will be kids! Let them have fun while they play tag, blow bubbles, etc.
- We suggest making an attempt to leave the sports balls at home as we don’t want them hitting others with them nor do we want them running into the street after them.
- We suggest making sure you pack enough snacks to keep those active kids going.
- Invite their friends!!
- Encourage the kiddos to enjoy the music and have a dance off.
- Porchfest is a family friendly event and typically has little activities at (almost) every porch for the kids. You’ll find activities such as chalk, so kids can decorate the sidewalks. In the past there has been a large fence piece that kids and adults alike are encouraged to paint on. In the past we have also seen lawn games setup, but maybe it would be a good idea to bring a portable bean toss or similar yard game of your own!
Tips for going with pets:
- Don’t forget the leash, pets must be kept on a leash.
- Don’t forget water for your furry friend, we think they’d appreciate some snacks, too.
- Be aware of your pet and their reactions, check on them often and make sure they are okay with the large crowd and loud music.
- Doggy bags, be courteous and please pick up after your pet.
Where should I park?
Residents of the historic district will be very thankful if you could park anywhere in the designated FREE public parking lots around historic downtown. Here is a useful map that shows the best parking locations. In addition to that, tons of new parking was added on Myrtle Avenue, right next to Henry’s Depot on First Street.
From most of these locations it will only be about a 5-10 minute walk until you get to the first porch. But trust us, it will be a beautiful walk, on a beautiful day (have you checked the weather forecast yet?).
Parking closer to the restaurants and bars in historic downtown is actually not a bad idea because that way you will certainly be tempted to stay for a little longer after the event and end the evening at one of our local businesses with a meal or drink (or better yet, both!). There will also be a block party on Sanford Avenue (Sanford Avenue Block Party from 5-10pm).
New this year is a FREE Trolley Service (sponsored by Dees Brothers Brewery) with designated trolley stops that will bring you from your parking spot closer to the bands and more. Please see the map below or click here to download:
How to get around?
Golf Cart, Bike, Walk
We recommend walking since that is the best way to really get a feel for the beauty of the historic district. You get to experience what it means to live in this amazing neighborhood and since all the porches are so close together it won’t take you too long to get all the porch hopping done. After all, you wouldn’t attend Porchfest in high heels anyway, right?
Sorry, but no golf carts this year! The entire foot print of the event is pedestrian friendly! If you want to experience Sanford’s Golf Cart lifestyle, just pick another weekend to rent a golf cart, or ride it outside the festival footprint on Porchfest Saturday.
If you want you can of course also hitch a ride on one of the volunteer golf carts (in case you have to urgently get from A to B or are just too tired for the walk. Or even just to have some fun and experience the golf cart lifestyle that we Sanfordites are so proud of!
Last but not least, if you have a chance to bring your bike, then by all means, do it! Downtown Sanford is one of the best places to ride your bike – just keep in mind that it WILL be busy (please no bumping into pedestrians!) and that you will need lights once it gets dark (Porchfest ends after 7pm) or you might have to push your bike later in the evening (again, no big deal, luckily everything is so close by!)
Sanford Porchfest Map
this map THIS MAP to get around and find out which band is playing at which porch at what time 😉
Eats & Drinks
Many of the porches have food available for purchase but what’s better than ending your Porchfest Day with a good meal at one of our downtown restaurants? And then stay a little longer and enjoy a drink at one of our local breweries and bars.
Your Donations Matter
“Sanford Porchfest is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that unifies its community through music with the mission of enhancing access to and promoting the arts through educational scholarships. Built entirely on goodwill; from the organizers, artists, and homeowners – all of the proceeds from the festival (collected through donations, sponsorships, and merchandise sales) are returned to the community in the form of performing art summer camp tuition for select children.”
As noted above, Sanford Porchfest is a nonprofit and the faces behind this organization are AMAZING! Not only do they work year-round to make this event possible they give back to our community in a BIG way. As of today there has been
$45,000 more than $80,000 donated since 2018! Thanks to you! Porchfest donates 100% of the proceeds from donations, merchandise sales, and art auction are donated back to the community as art-based scholarships, camp tuition or educational programs.
How can I support Sanford Porchfest?
- Purchase Sanford Porchfest merch. The Merch Table can be found on the Sanford Porchfast Map
- Partake in the Art Auction
- Make a donation
- Get Involved-If you are a musician, artist, performer, Historic Downtown Sanford Homeowner or food vendor consider joining a future Sanford Porchfest. Contact Sanford Porchfest HERE!
Sanford Porchfest Website
More details, including the band line up can be found on the Sanford Porchfest website