Maine’s Supersize Holiday Celebrations, By the Numbers

Want to be wowed this holiday season? In Maine, there’s no shortage of groups taking merrymaking to the next level.

Santa Sunday at Sunday River
Photo courtesy of Sunday River
By Virginia M. Wright
From our December 2023 issue


Number of New Year’s Eve drops at the Tides Institute & Art Museum, in Eastport, near the Maine–New Brunswick border. At midnight Atlantic time, a giant wooden maple leaf is lowered during a brass-band rendition of O Canada. An hour later, an eight-foot-long wooden sardine descends to the tune of Auld Lang Syne. 43 Water St.


Cars in Portland’s menorah parade last year. The procession of vehicles with candelabras strapped to their hoods rolls through downtown to city hall for the lighting of the community menorah. Dec. 7, 3:30 p.m., starting at Chabad of Maine, 11 Pomeroy St.


Number of lobster traps in Rockland’s 40-foot-tall “tree.” Volunteer builders adorn it with 600 feet of balsam garlands, 100 colorful buoys, and 2,500 lights that blink on when Santa arrives during the city’s Festival of Lights celebration. Nov. 25, Mildred Merrill Park, 256 S. Main St.


Miles of string lights wrapped around trees and arbors and fashioned into massive animals, mushrooms, and more at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens’ annual Gardens Aglow extravaganza in Boothbay. Nov. 18–Dec. 31.


Santas skiing and snowboarding down Sunday River’s Broadway trail on Santa Sunday — a fundraiser for the nonprofit River Fund’s youth programs. Participants must have full Santa attire and a jolly disposition. Dec. 10, 11 a.m. 15 South Ridge Rd., Newry.


Height, in feet, of the grand menorah in Bangor’s Peirce Park. Rabbi Chaim Wilansky, of Chabad of Bangor, climbs a stepladder with a torch to light the first mega-candle. Dec. 7, 5:30 p.m. 125 Harlow St.

Discover more must-see holiday celebrations across the state.

Down East Magazine, March 2024 cover

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