Holidays in Maine | A Very Merry Calendar

Feel the joy of the season at community celebrations across the Pine Tree State.

By Yankee Staff

Oct 13 2022


Dock Square tree lightings, Kennebunkport

Photo Credit : Nicole Wolf
Sponsored by the Maine Tourism Office The holidays are a time to come together, and there’s no better way to do just that than by experiencing Maine’s many seasonal celebrations. From the dazzling light displays at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, to Skowhegan’s whimsical Dr. Seuss–inspired SKOW-Whoville festival, there are all kinds of delightful ways to get into the holiday spirit this year. To have your event listed, email Festival Plaza is the merry heart of the holiday season, hosting the city’s tree lighting on Dec. 3 as well as the debut of the first-ever Christmas Shopping Village, a European-style outdoor holiday market. Tree lighting, Dec. 3, 2022; Christmas Shopping Village Dec. 3–24 (Thu-Sat), 2022; auburnme.govBANGOR | Festival of Lights: Downtown Bangor will be transformed into a glittering display by the Bangor Rotary Club’s annual Festival of Lights Parade, which this year has the theme “Imagine,” and which culminates in the traditional tree lighting in West Market Square. In addition, throughout the holiday season the  Community Lighting Event invites the public to drive by participating homes and organizations to enjoy their individual light displays. Parade Dec. 2, 2022; bangorrotary.comBAR HARBOR | Village Holidays Celebration & Sale: Shift your holiday season into high gear as Santa Claus makes his annual appearance in downtown Bar Harbor, to help light the town Christmas tree and offer a special reading of “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.” After enjoying some holiday cheer with friends and family at the MDI YMCA, take care of your gift-shopping at retailers staying open late. Dec. 2, 2022; visitbarharbor.comBATH | An Old-Fashioned Christmas in Bath: Commencing the yuletide festivities just after Thanksgiving with a Christmas tree lighting and visit from Santa, An Old-Fashioned Christmas in Bath carries the holiday spirit into December with special downtown shopping events, trolley caroling, decoration contests, live music, and more. Nov. 26–Dec. 10, 2022; visitbath.comBELFAST | Holiday on the Harbor: Santa’s arrival at Steamboat Landing Park on the waterfront is the highlight of this merry event, which also includes horse-drawn family wagon rides, hot chocolate, and special treats and activities for the kids. Dec. 10, 2022; business.belfastmaine.orgBETHEL | Country Christmas in Bethel: Experience the Christmas season in the postcardperfect village of Bethel: Shop locally, meet Santa, enjoy the lights, take in a performance, or hop aboard a horse-drawn wagon ride through historic Bethel village. Nov. 26–Dec. 24, 2022; business.bethelmaine.comBOOTHBAY/BOOTHBAY HARBOR | Gardens Aglow & Boothbay Lights: Experience the wonder of the largest holiday light display in Maine. At Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, stroll through 14 acres of gardens boasting over 650,000 lights twinkling in the night, then stay for the Boothbay Festival of Lights, in which all businesses in Boothbay are aglow with holiday lights, and businesses offer special holiday hours. Nov. 19–Dec. 31, 2022., | Christmas by the Sea: Christmas by the Sea is a December tradition that ushers in the holiday season in Camden, eagerly anticipated by families near and far. This year is no exception: plans include a holiday parade, stores open late with ongoing sales, carriage rides, a tree-lighting in Harbor Park, carolers, a visit from Santa, and many crafts, fairs, and activities throughout the Midcoast communities.  Dec. 2–4, 2022; camdenmaineexperience.comELLSWORTH | Downtown Christmas Parade: Celebrating the theme “Christmas at the Movies,” this year’s parade will feature sparkling lights galore, as participants are encouraged to deck out their floats/vehicles with Christmas lights and other light-up decorations. The parade steps off at 4 p.m. at Knowlton Park. (And while you’re at it, circle Saturday, Nov. 26, for the Ellsworth Tree Lighting in the City Hall Parking Lot at 5 p.m.) ParadeDec. 3, 2022; ellsworthrotary.comFARMINGTON | Chester Greenwood Day: This annual celebration of Farmington resident Chester Greenwood, the inventor of earmuffs, is a holiday-season staple that brings thousands to the area to join in or simple enjoy watching the big parade (this year’s theme: “Winter Wonderland”). Local student musicians and carolers also line the streets of downtown Farmington, performing songs and carols for passers-by. Dec. 3, 2022; franklincountymaine.orgFORT KENT: The weekend after Thanksgiving is a busy one in this Aroostook County town, as it hosts the 42nd annual Arts and Craft Fair, a great event for stocking up on holiday gifts. But families will want to make sure not to miss the visit from Santa and tree lighting on Saturday at the Fort Kent Public Library. Fair Nov. 26–27, tree lighting Nov. 26, 2022; fortkentchamber.comHOULTON | Holiday Light Parade: Amid the shopping fun of Small Business Saturday on Nov. 26, Houlton hosts its annual Holiday Light Parade, featuring glittering floats and costumed marchers singing and dancing their way through the parade route. The event culminates in Market Square, where Santa and Mrs. Claus will light the tree and be on hand to hear the children’s Christmas wishes. Nov. 26, 2022;greaterhoulton.comFREEPORT | Sparkle Celebration: One of Maine’s most popular holiday celebrations, Sparkle Celebration kicks off Friday with the Parade of Lights, which ends with Santa arriving to bring the famous talking Christmas Tree to life. Then the fun continues all week, with lots of lights and merrymaking, including the annual decorating contest and gift certificate giveaways with the Stealth Elf. New this year: The Sparkle Stroll, an evening with special deals and door prizes. Dec. 2–11, 2022; visitfreeport.comFREEPORT | L.L. Bean’s Northern Lights: Free and festive, all season long, Northern Lights invites Freeport visitors to enjoy free skating in Discovery Park, a model train village, photo ops in a life-size snow globe, the Twinkle Light Tunnel, and much more. Nov. 18–Jan. 1, 2022; llbean.comKENNEBUNKPORT | Christmas Prelude: This seaside village hosts a full week of holiday cheer each year with its nationally recognized Christmas Prelude, featuring shopping, eating, caroling, tree lightings, arts and crafts shows, concerts, and other family-friendly offerings. Don’t miss Santa’s arrival by lobster boat! Dec. 1–11, 2022; christmasprelude.comOGUNQUIT | Christmas by the Sea: Held the second weekend in December every year, Ogunquit offers a wide variety of activities from Santa sightings and tree lightings, to concerts, a bonfire, fireworks, craft show, children’s activities, and of course the Christmas parade from Perkins Cove to the Main Beach. Dec. 9–11, 2022; ogunquit.orgPORTLAND | Monument Square Tree Lighting: Bundle up in warm clothes and enjoy dazzling holiday lights in downtown Portland, starring the illumination of the Monument Square tree. Enjoy live entertainment, carriage rides, a visit from Santa, ice carving demos, and more. Nov. 25, 2022; portlandmaine.comPRESQUE ISLE | Holiday Light Parade: Nothing says Christmas in the County like this annual Aroostook County tradition, now in its 33rd year. Spectators can enjoy music, floats, and hot chocolate as the parade steps off from the University of Maine at Presque Isle campus and makes its merry way to Main Street. Dec. 3, 2022;centralaroostookchamber.comROCKLAND | Festival of Lights: Though 2022 details have not yet been announced, past iterations of this annual celebration have included Santa’s arrival by lobster boat, the lighting of the lobster trap tree, hayrides, and a parade. Check the website for 2022 updates;rocklanddowntown.comROCKPORT | Holiday on the Harbor: Having been postponed last year from its pre-Christmas date until New Year’s, Holiday on the Harbor is again scheduled to be an end-of-the-year celebration. Among the highlights: luminaria throughout the head of the harbor, a visit from Santa, a tree lighting, and fireworks. Dec. 31, 2022; rockportmaine.govSKOWHEGAN | SKOW-Whoville: This festive weekend inspired by the Dr. Seuss classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas! gets the party started with the annual holiday parade on Friday night, while Saturday will be filled with Grinch-y themed activities for the whole family, including an ugly sweater contest, Grinch ornament making, and a Grinch story walk. Dec. 2–3, 2022. skow-whoville.orgYARMOUTH | Hometown Holidays: Yuletide spirit runs from Thanksgiving till New Year’s Day at this community celebration, which encompasses everything from holiday and craft fairs to concerts, caroling, and of course, a tree lighting. Check the website for 2022 updates; | Festival of Lights Parade: Even before the main event steps off in the afternoon, York welcomes the holiday season with a breakfast with Santa and ornament-painting. Then comes the big parade, with marching bands and joyfully decorated floats delighting spectators along the village streets. Dec. 3, 2022;