‘Tis the season for sleigh rides, sing-alongs, Santa and, of course, shopping. Get into the holiday spirit at the many winter festivals across Maine this weekend. To get you started, we’ve highlighted some of the most popular below. For full schedules, visit the websites associated with each event. 


• Lighting the Copper Beech Tree, 6:30 p.m. Friday, Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress Square: Gather outside in the sculpture garden to see the tree lighting. Free admission.

• Shop for a Cause Day, Saturday: Shop downtown, and a portion of the sales from participating stores will be donated to the Center for Grieving Children and the Portland Police Department’s Cadet Program. Visit portlandmaine.com for a list of participating businesses.

• Free horse and wagon rides, 4 to 8 p.m. Fridays, 2 to 6 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 5 p.m. Sundays through Dec. 18: Pickup and drop-off every half hour in Monument Square.

INFO: 772-6828; portlandmaine.com; portlandmuseum.com 


• Sparkle Weekend, Friday to Sunday, downtown: Begin your weekend at 6 p.m. Friday by watching the annual Parade of Lights along Main Street and visit Santa at the Mallet House, 7 Mill St., after the parade.

On Saturday, holiday carolers will sing favorite songs of the season from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. and from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on the L.L. Bean campus. L.L. Bean will also host its Winter Sports Weekend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Sunday with demos and clinics on ice fishing, winter camping, ski waxing and more, plus the chance to try out snowshoes and sleds on a demo track made of real snow. Admission is free. Visit downtown businesses for free hot cocoa all day long Saturday.

The Jingle Bell Run-Walk begins with 9 a.m. registration at Freeport High School, followed by the run at 10 a.m. Cost to participate is $20 in advance, $25 day of the run and $5 for children.

INFO: 865-1212; freeportusa.com; llbean.com/freeport 


• Downtown Holiday Festival and Tree Lighting, 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday: Musicians, carolers and storytellers entertain in City Square. There will be free horse-drawn sleigh rides, cookie decorating and refreshments provided by LaKermesse. Santa will travel from the fire station to City Square by a horse-drawn sleigh for the tree lighting at 5:30 p.m.

INFO: 284-8520; heartofbiddeford.org 


• 25th Annual Harbor Lights Festival, begins at 1 p.m. Saturday: Head to Town Landing off Commercial Street and welcome Santa, Mrs. Claus and the elves as they arrive on the boat Novelty at 1 p.m. Take a free wagon ride between 1 and 4 p.m. at Fisherman’s Wharf, then gather on the lawn of the Boothbay Harbor Memorial Library, 4 Oak St., at 4 p.m. to see the tree lighting and sing carols with the Boothbay Region Alumni Community Band.

At 4:30 p.m., follow the Three Wise Men as they journey from the library across the footbridge to Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, 82 Atlantic Ave., to see a live interpretation of the Nativity. Cap the evening off at 5 p.m. with a lighted boat parade, including working boats, pleasure craft and Coast Guard vessels.

INFO: 633-2353; boothbayharbor.com 


• Christmas By the Sea, Friday to Sunday: An entire weekend of festivities begins at 4:30 p.m. Friday, when Santa arrives in West Rockport at the Midcoast Recreation Center. The Christmas by the Sea parade begins on Union Street in Camden at 6 p.m., followed by a tree lighting with Santa at Harbor Park at 6:45 p.m.

Santa arrives by tugboat in Camden Harbor at noon Saturday, followed by story hour with Santa in the Camden Public Library. At 4 p.m. Saturday, there will be a tree lighting, a bonfire and a sing-along at Linconville Beach. At sunset, a luminary lighting of Pascal Avenue in Rockport begins, along with caroling at Rockport’s holiday tree.

Sunday kicks off from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. with free horse and wagon rides departing from the Camden Riverhouse on Tannery Lane. At 6 p.m. Sunday, enjoy the Christmas in the Country tree lighting at Union Common with Father Christmas, a bonfire, carols and free cookies and cocoa.

INFO: camdenme.org 


• Christmas Prelude, Friday to Sunday: Head to Dock Square to see the tree lit at 5:30 p.m. Friday and join in Christmas caroling with the Kennebunk High School Chamber Choir. Then warm up by a bonfire, sing Christmas carols and sip hot chocolate behind the Washington Hose Fire Company Station, Route 35, Lower Village, at 7 p.m.

A number of events are planned for Saturday. Gather at the town parking lot behind Dock Square by 2:45 p.m. to show off your handmade or store-bought creations and parade through Dock Square and over the bridge as part of the sixth annual Hat Parade. At 5:30 p.m., gather at the corner of Christensen Lane and Route 35 to see the tree lighting, then enjoy the traditional stroll to the Franciscan Monastery, where you can enjoy chestnuts roasted over an open fire and candlelight caroling at 6:30 p.m.

Sunday’s highlights include a 1:30 p.m. concert of holiday songs by the Kennebunk High School Chamber Choir at Union Square on Ocean Avenue. Santa will arrive by lobster boat at 2 p.m. at the Arundel Wharf, then will travel with his elves through Dock Square to the Community House on Temple Street for photos.

INFO: christmasprelude.com

Staff Writer Avery Yale Kamila can be contacted at 791-6297 or at:

[email protected]

Twitter: AveryYaleKamila


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