The Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport knows how to throw a party. And not just one party, mind you, but a festive celebration that runs over the course of two days. It’s a fitting finale to the town’s famous Christmas Prelude.
To set the scene, Kennebunkport has charm in spades, especially this time of year. Historic homes are done up in their holiday best, and the town is aglow in white lights and abundant evergreens.
Anticipation builds as a cozy trolley full of revelers pulls away from family festivities like the annual Christmas tree lighting and fireworks display over Dock Square and makes haste to another world the third annual Fire & Ice Bar at the Nonantum on Dec. 7 and 8.
“It’s such a wonderful event,” said Pat Dugan of Kennebunkport, attending with her husband Bill. “It’s my favorite Prelude event.”
The Dugans admired a glistening pod of seals sculpted in ice, one of the many fascinating ice sculptures adorning the inn, with Tina Hewett-Gordon, general manager of the Nonantum.
“Our theme this year is ‘Under the Ice,’” said Hewett-Gordon, gesturing to the sea of twinkling blue lights illuminating the back lawn, which was transformed to a wonderland of glowing fire pits, white lanterns and tents full of tasty food and drink from local establishments like Flatbread Pizza, Arundel Seafood Center and Shipyard Brewing Company.
“Ed Jarrett has been working day and night on these ice sculptors,” Hewett-Gordon said.
Jarrett, who is perhaps best known as the man who engineered the tallest sandcastle in the world in 2011 in Connecticut (officially certified by Guinness World Records, of course), was especially proud on this night of his deep-sea diver. He gamely posed for photos with guests Philip Printz of Arundel, Ann Ringling of Portsmouth, N.H., Nora Ordway of Kennebunk and Helen Olson of San Francisco.
Just a few steps away, Laura Mowrey of Lincolnville and her pal Nicole Hawkes of Camden toasted marshmallows and took in the splendor of it all.
In the beer tent, spirits were merry and bright as friends from near and far came together to raise a glass.
Brian and Samantha Kurlychek of Kennebunkport reminisced about their wedding here 10 years ago, while friends Eva Cartwright of Wiesbaden, Germany, and Joel Gurecki of Kennebunk and Northampton, Mass., talked about life in Maine.
Whether it’s a meeting point, a getaway or a fabulous night out without the kids, good news travels fast. Kathryn Jones of Georgetown, Mass., met her Bangor-based beau Joseph Robinson here for a rendezvous, and couples like Bill and Alison Smyth of Wells and Mary and Dan Wallace of Medway, Mass., were simply celebrating each other.
The Fire & Ice Bar has tripled in size since it began three years ago, with more than 750 guests Friday night and another 1,250 expected on Saturday. With such ambiance, bountiful food and drink and entertainment, it’s no wonder.
“We’ve alway said if you can’t do it right, you shouldn’t do it at all,” said Hewett-Gordon. “So we’re going to do it over-the-top right.”
A portion of the proceeds from this event benefits WinterKids, a nonprofit group that helps children develop healthy habits through fun outdoor activities.
Mark your calendars for next year. Your trolley awaits.
Margaret Logan is a freelance writer who lives in Scarborough. She can be contacted at: