30 Maine Christmas Celebrations

Maine Holiday Calendar

Bangor

Festival of Lights Parade

Dozens of floats, local marching bands, and dance troupes will lead the star of the parade, Santa, on a festive takeover of downtown Bangor. After the parade, there will be a gathering and celebration for the city’s Christmas tree lighting. Dec. 1. 4:30–6 p.m. 207-217-0570. bangorrotary.org

Bar Harbor

Village Holidays and Midnight Madness Sale

Hot cocoa and cookies will be served on the village green, carolers will be caroling, and a Santa will visit for the tree lighting and a reading of The Night Before Christmas. Plus, crafts with Santa at the local YMCA and late-night sales for holiday shoppers at local businesses. Dec. 7. 4:30 p.m.– midnight. 207-288-5103. visitbarharbor.com

Belfast

Tree Lighting and Early Bird Sale

Downtown Belfast’s annual holiday sale rewards early risers with great deals (and restaurant discounts). The city’s tree lighting is accompanied by hot cocoa, caroling, and a visit from the big man in a red suit. Dec. 1, with a menorah lighting Dec. 2. 6–9 a.m. 207-323-9100. ourtownbelfast.org

Bethel

Christmas at the Mason House

Bethel Hill’s oldest surviving home will be decorated and lit in traditional 19th-century style. Admission, music, and refreshments are free, but donations are appreciated. Dec. 1. 3:30–6 p.m. 207-824-2908. bethelmaine.com

Biddeford-Saco

Downtown Holiday Festival and ArtWalk

Biddeford’s city square ushers in the season with a tree lighting, musical performances, and the arrival of Santa. It’s also the cities’ final ArtWalk of the year. Dec. 7. 5–8 p.m. heartofbiddeford.org

Boothbay Harbor

Harbor Lights Festival

For the 33rd year running, boats in the harbor will don lights and decorations and convey Mr. and Mrs. Claus, elves, moose, and lobsters. On dry land: horse-drawn carriages, a craft show, caroling, tree lighting, and story time. Dec. 1. 1 p.m. 207-781-2982. boothbaylights.com

Brunswick

Tree Lighting with Santa and Small Business Saturday

Leading up to the grand finale — Santa officially lighting the town Christmas tree — there are horse-drawn carriage rides, hot cocoa, and cookies for all. Plus, the Brunswick High chorus will sing carols, and Santa and Frosty the Snowman will make a grand entrance aboard a fire truck, after which Santa will take Christmas wishes in the gazebo on the town mall. Nov. 24. 2–5 p.m. 207-729-4439. brunswickdowntown.org

Camden

Lighting of the Mount Battie Summit Star

At dusk on Thanksgiving, the huge star on the Mt. Battie Tower, overlooking downtown Camden, will be lit for the season, visible for miles from its high perch. It remains aglow until New Year’s Eve. Nov. 22. Dusk. 207-596-0376. mainedreamvacation.com

Christmas By the Sea

Camdenites takes Christmas seriously, and this year their premier holiday extravaganza includes shopping deals at downtown stores, a holiday music concert, a festive parade, carriage rides, a walk through Bethlehem, a tree lighting ceremony, a performance of The Nutcracker, a craft fair, read-alouds, photos with Santa, and more. Nov. 30–Dec. 2. 207-236-4404. camdenmaineexperience.com

Damariscotta

Villages of Light

Founded last year, the Villages of Light celebration brings neighboring Damariscotta and Newcastle together for festivities and towns-wide cheer. Events include meeting Santa, a free showing of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, and kids crafts at the library. The parade of lights caps off the day’s festivities. Nov 24. 12-–5 p.m. 207-563-8340. damariscottaregion.com

Ellsworth

Downtown Christmas Parade

This year’s annual Heart of Ellsworth Christmas Parade, right down Main Street, promises lots of holiday cheer, delivered by Santa himself. After the parade, downtown businesses will be open and offering special deals and Christmas shopping mirth. Dec. 1. 11 a.m. 207-667-5584. ellsworthchamber.org

Farmington

Chester Greenwood Day and Festival of Trees

Chester Greenwood Day celebrates the Farmington native who invented earmuffs in 1873, when he was 15 years old. His local plant provided jobs for decades, and now, in his honor, the town holds an annual hour-long parade and a gingerbread house contest. Plus, the local Rotary Club puts on a festival of trees decorated by local businesses. Dec. 1. All day. 207-778-4215. franklincountymaine.org, farmingtonrotary.us

Fort Kent

Arts & Crafts Fair

With approximately 120 vendors, the annual Arts & Crafts Fair at the UMaine Fort Kent’s Sports Center is one of the largest craft fairs in northern Maine and, after 38 years, it only gets bigger and better. No better place to stock up on stocking stuffers. Nov. 24–25. 10 a.m.–4:30 p.m. 207-834-5354. fortkentchamber.com

Freeport

Sparkle Celebration

The 25th annual Sparkle Celebration will feature the Parade of Lights down Main Street on Friday night, nightly shows with Freeport’s Famous Talking Christmas Tree, free horse-drawn carriage rides, holiday decorating contests, visits from Santa and his reindeer, musical performances by the Freeport Players, a forest of twinkling trees at L.L.Bean, and more. Dec. 7–9. 207-865-1212. sparklecelebration.com

Greenville

Deck the Halls

This year, the holidays in the Moosehead Lake region kick off with an all-day Deck the Halls celebration, which includes a light parade, a holiday bazaar, live music, festive treats, a visit from Santa, sidewalk sales, in-store specials, and restaurant deals. Nov. 24. 9 a.m.–8 p.m. 207-695-2421. mooseheadlake.org

Houlton

Holiday Light Parade

The 29th annual Holiday Light Parade gives participants a chance to win awards for floats in various categories: Parade Champion, Best Non-Profit, Best General Float, etc. The event is always competitive, but also festive and fun for the whole community. Santa will listen to children’s wishes after the parade, and the jolly old elf will light the town Christmas tree. Dec. 1. 6 p.m. 207-764-6561. centralaroostookchamber.com

Kennebunkport

Christmas Prelude

Named the second-best Christmas town in America by HGTV a few years back, Kennebunkport hosts an 11-day Christmas kickoff festival that includes arts-and-crafts shows, a light labyrinth, a tree-lighting ceremony, trolley rides, a Christmas cookie crawl, handcrafted ice bars, a family skate at the open-air Waterhouse Center, and many other activities and events. Nov. 29–Dec 9. 207-967-0857. christmasprelude.com

Lewiston

Feztival of Trees

Every year, the local chapter of the fez-wearing Shriners celebrates the holidays at their Kora Temple with an indoor forest of elaborately decorated trees. Visitors can wander the holiday woodland, visit with Santa, check out local crafts, and more. Admission is $2 for adults, free for kids 12 and under. Nov. 17–24. 10 a.m.–8 p.m. 207-782-6831. korashriners.org

Ogunquit

Christmas by the Sea

The oceanfront village of Ogunquit puts on three days of holiday cheer and winter festivities. Activities range from shopping sales and free gift wrapping to an a cappella concert to a tree lighting to crafts fairs, wagon rides, a polar plunge, a bonfire, and fireworks. Dec. 7-9. 207-646-2939. ogunquit.org

Old Orchard Beach

Last Blast Bonfire Beach Party

Drag your Christmas tree to Old Orchard Beach, feed it to the bonfire, and soak up the warmth of the blaze while you watch the fireworks in this all-ages farewell to 2018. Refreshments include cotton candy, kettle corn, and hot cocoa. Dec. 31. Bonfire lighting, 5 p.m.; fireworks, 7:30 p.m. 207-590-4201. oldorchardbeachmaine.com

Portland

Monument Square Tree Lighting

When the tree lights up, the holidays have arrived in Portland. The annual event includes free wagon rides, eggnog samples, and a visit with Santa. Rick Charette and the Bubblegum Band will perform. Nov. 23. 5–6:30 p.m.; tree lighting at 6:15 p.m. 207-772-6828. portlandmaine.com

Scandinavian Northern Lights Christmas Party

This Christmas party spreads cheer through giving, with all proceeds this year benefitting the Telling Room. Sponsored by Icelandic shipping company Eimskip, the party at Portland Ocean Gateway celebrates Portland’s growing relationship with the High North and includes food prepared by the Portland Hunt & Alpine Club. Dec. 14. 6–8:30 p.m. 207-772-6828. portlandmaine.com

Presque Isle

Holiday Light Parade

This parade challenges businesses, organizations, and clubs to get creative as they build floats and compete in hopes of being named “best.” For $10, you can ride aboard the Presque Isle Historical Society’s Molly the Trolley. Dec. 1. 6 p.m. 207-762-6561. centralaroostookchamber.com. To reserve the trolley: 207-762-1151.

Rangeley

Giving Tree Lighting

Miss and Mister Wood Chip will light the Giving Tree at Lakeside Park, continuing a
31-year tradition. All gifts placed under the tree are donations to those in need.
Nov. 24. 6 p.m. 207-864-3443. rangeleymaine.com

Breakfast with Santa at the Wilhelm Reich Museum

Enjoy pancakes and decorate cookies with Santa, Mrs. Claus, and their elves. Proceeds support the museum’s scholarship fund benefitting Rangeley Lakes Region School graduating seniors who plan to study in the science field. Dec. 1. 8–11 a.m. 207-864-3443. rangeleymaine.com

Rockland

Festival of Lights Celebration

Santa gets a U.S. Coast Guard escort to the lighting of the world’s largest lobster-trap Christmas tree, the kickoff to this three-day event that includes a parade of lights, wagon rides, visits to Santa’s workshop, an auction, and tours of historic inns. Nov. 23–25. 207-593-6093. rocklandmainstreet.com

Saco

Holiday Festival and Parade of Lights

The festivities begin when Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at Saco Train Station at Saco Island for crafts and sweet treats. Main Street will be bustling with trolley and horse-drawn carriage rides, a live nativity, and a Festival of Trees at Saco Museum. Caroling and the lighting of the Saco tree will be followed by the Parade of Lights — the biggest ever, with more than 80 floats, bands, and other marching entries. Dec. 8. 207-286-3546. sacomainstreet.org

Wells

Southern Maine Christmas Parade

This parade features high school groups, organizations, businesses, Santa Claus, and characters such as Sparky the Fire Dog. Dec. 9. 2 p.m.  207-646-2451. wellschristmasparade.com

York

Lighting of the Nubble

Cookies, hot chocolate, and music abound in the lead-up to the dramatic lighting of the Cape Neddick Light (more often called the Nubble Light), complete with final countdown. The lighthouse, keeper’s house, and outbuildings keep glowing all through the holiday season. Nov. 24. 5–7 p.m. 207-363-1040. gatewaytomaine.org

Festival of Lights Parade

York village celebrates with caroling, craft and gift fairs, dancing trees, church suppers, and of course, the parade. Dec. 1. 4:30 p.m. 207-363-1040. gatewaytomaine.org


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