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  • Writer's pictureSara Gross

New Partnership to Bring a Full Menu of Fun Food Events and Workshops to Midcoast


Two people posing for a photo in front of a stainless steel work table and a large round Maine Tasting Center logo on the wall behind them.
Owner of Sunflower Dream Promotions Lana Allen (left) and Maine Tasting Center General Manager Sara Gross (right) in the Learning Center's demonstration kitchen, where many of their collaborative 2023 events will take place.

Sunflower Dream Promotions, a promotional events company based out of Bath, has found a perfect match in Maine Tasting Center, located on Route 1 in Wiscasset. Lana Allen, owner of Sunflower Dream Promotions, has been working hard to grow her business since its founding in January 2022. “The minute I walked onto the Maine Tasting Center campus, I knew I had found something special. Not only did they share my passion for local food, but the space was perfect for the kinds of events I was trying to build my business around,“ says Allen.


Allen has built a name for herself in the Wiscasset and Bath communities through the food-centric events she creates. Past successes include the Saturday Sampler event at Bath Ale Works in Wiscasset - a showcase and market of local vendors like Mere Point Oyster Company, D-Zerts by Daphne, Senza Scarpe, Highroller Lobster Co. and Crave Maine Food Truck - as well as a sold out “forage and feast’ dinner with North Spore, hosted at Water Street Kitchen and Bar Wiscasset. According to Allen, one of the hardest parts of putting on these unique events has been finding an appealing, reliable space in which to hold them, where venue owners not only understand her vision, but share her enthusiasm.

“When Lana approached us about hosting one of her events on our campus, it was an easy ‘yes,’ but it quickly became clear that there was a lot more potential there than just one event,” says Maine Tasting Center General Manager Sara Gross. Over the past three years, Maine Tasting Center has also become known for its innovative events and its focus on profiling local food and drink producers. “We love these types of fun, engaging and creative events, but with a staff of two we often don’t have the capacity to plan them alongside all of the other initiatives on our plate,” said Gross. “Partnering with Lana was an obvious choice – it allows us to offer more amazing local food and drink events to our campus and profile more of our producers than we would be able to accomplish on our own.”


The partnership is hitting the ground running, with a handful of collaborative events already scheduled for summer 2023. To kick off the season, Sunflower Dream Promotions will be hosting an after hours ‘Canvases & Cocktails’, with local artist Brandy. The event will be held in the Maine Tasting Center’s Tasting Room on May 27 – the center’s opening day for the season (public hours for the season will be 12-6 p.m. daily). Brandy will take attendees step-by-step through the process of painting their own Maine lobster-themed masterpiece. And, in keeping with their mission to connect consumers to Maine producers, Maine Tasting Center will be offering Maine lobster food and drink specials, plus a bit of lobster industry education.


Other exciting events for the season include a Tapas Dinner with Chris Toy on June 16, a Wild Mushroom Lunch & Learn with David Spahr on July 22, an Absinthe night on June 10, and a second annual “forage and feast” with North Spore on October 6. Beyond that, a soap making workshop, a German beer pairing, and Maine Sushi Dinner are all in the works, with dates to be announced soon. Interested in getting involved as a vendor or collaborator? Email Lana at events@sunflowerdreampromotions.com.


“I am extremely grateful to have found Maine Tasting Center. I think the best part about this partnership is that I don’t need to compromise myself or my passions. Sara and I organically “click” and share a passion for creating experiences that promote local businesses and ingredients,” Allen explains. “My goal for us is to create lasting connections with our sponsors and build them into our annual calendar, while simultaneously acquainting ourselves with other vendors creating a diverse platform of events to anticipate.”


Tickets for the May 27 Canvases & Cocktails opening day celebration are available at canvasesandcocktails.com. Tickets for all other events from this partnership will be available at mainetastingcenter.com/classes.

 

About Sunflower Dream Promotions: Lana Allen, a visionary with 20+ years in the hospitality and event management industries, created Sunflower Dream Promotions to tap into her creative abilities, her knack for bringing people together, and her passion for celebrating the success of others in her community. Today, the company specializes in coordinating events that showcase local food and beverage purveyors as a collaborative effort, through the use of pop-ups, workshops, and curated dinners, to name a few. The company also provides day of coordination services to private events such as weddings.

About Maine Tasting Center: Maine Tasting Center (MTC) is an educational campus in Wiscasset, ME where members of the public can attend classes and special events, taste food and drink from Maine producers, and explore exhibits about Maine food industries. The MTC campus is home to the nonprofit organization Maine Food and Beverage Education Center (MFBEC), which works to build bridges between Maine’s food and beverage producers and the public. MTC and MFBEC work together to drive economic benefit to Maine food and drink producers through public education and tourism. Learn more at mainetastingcenter.com.

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