I hope everyone is having a safe and happy holiday season. Before I left town for my trip to Nashville I finished raking and mulching, got the Christmas decorations out of storage, put my mountain bike away for the winter and grabbed my X-C skis and gear so I could hit the trails when I got home. Then it turned out to be as warm in Bridgton as it was in Tennessee, the snow from last week had all but melted and I got bitten by a mosquito in my front yard. This is still Maine, right?

Lovely Lights

The weather sure is fine for a parade though, and the annual Festival of Lights is this Saturday, Dec. 3. This Bridgton holiday tradition starts at sundown with a beautiful candlelight processional through town followed by the parade and tree lighting.

Everyone is invited to the Community Center afterwards for food and drinks and a visit from Santa himself. Celebrate the season with friends and neighbors as we kick-off the countdown to Christmas, and please stop by our many local shops while you’re out strolling.

Ho-Ho-Happy Hour

Want to burn off some calories, dance, eat, drink and be merry? In the spirit of supporting local businesses and treating yourself, Zumba instructors Vicki Toole and Dinah Aldrich are shaking things up this holiday season.

Join them on Saturday, Dec. 10, for their HO HO HO Zumba Happy Hour from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Redneck Lounge. Formerly the Bridgton Commons and Mountainside, the Lounge has done extensive renovations, which include a dance floor, just perfect for shaking your booty.

Local businesses have contributed some fantastic prizes to be raffled off, including The Firefly Boutique, The Printery, Subway of Bridgton, Kathleen’s Skincare, The Morning Dew, Craftworks and Beth’s Kitchen. This event is only $10 and includes light hors d’oeuvres, plenty of Zumba from two fabulous instructors, and the chance to win tons of raffles prizes for only. FMI check out the event’s facebook page or email Vicki at [email protected]

Garlands and Greens

The Bridgton Farmer’s Market celebrated another super successful season at its outdoor location on the Common next to the Magic Lantern, but the good news is it’s not just for summer anymore.

The local merchants and artisans are hosting an indoor holiday market every Saturday through December inside the Community Center. From 8 a.m. ‘til 1 p.m., you can find a bounty of crafts, locally made cheeses and baked goods, seasonal produce and more. The Market gets bigger and better every year, proof that Bridgton supports its local growers and craftspeople. Thanks!

Local Lit

We all know that Bridgton is full of talented people, but it isn’t often that I get to type the words “local Pulitzer Prize winning author”. So it’s a pleasure to report that Barbara Walsh will be reading from her award-winning work at the library.

Join Walsh on Saturday, Dec. 3 from 1 to 2 p.m. as she reads from her recent book “August Gale.” She will also have autographed copies available for sale, which would make a perfect Christmas gift for the literature lover in your life. FMI, call 647-2472.

Movies and more

The Bridgton Library is also hosting two special holiday craft classes this month, so your children can make unique, individual gifts for everybody on their lists.

On Saturdays, Dec. 4 and 11, at 11 a.m., children aged 5 and up are invited to the free craft party led by Youth Services librarian Annika Black. The second session will include a screening of The Polar Express. This movie showing is also free but space is limited and pre-registration is required. Please call Annika to register for either class at 647-2472.

Our Community Cares

There is great news from Carmen Lone, the Bridgton Community Center’s Director, proving once again that when you put out the call, our awesome town will step up and help out.

First, the Bridgton-Lake Region Rotary Club roasted two turkeys and 13 pies for the BCC’s annual Senior Thanksgiving Lunch held on Nov. 16 at the United Methodist Church. Assisting the regular volunteer crew, they served 60 people a full Thanksgiving meal. They also announced that the local Rotarians had received a grant to help upgrade the Bridgton Community Gardens, including new beds and irrigation among other improvements, and scheduled to kick off on Earth Day, April 22.

Then the Chickadee Quilters Carole Hicks and Loretta Ferraro, presented a $600 donation to the BCC and a $500 donation to the Fuel Collaborative.

“The timing is right,” said Lone. “Winter weather is imminent and the Fuel Collaborative funds are dangerously low.”

The BCC Fuel Collaborative is a program of the Bridgton Community Center, which provides emergency fuel to Bridgton residents. The program is funded by donations and fundraising, and is dangerously low this year. $12,000 is usually needed to get through the heating season; including the $500 from the Chickadee Quilters the fund currently totals $3,860.

The Quilters have a 30-year tradition of supporting local causes, including the Bridgton Recreation Department and Good Shepherd Food-Bank. They also make a quilt every year to be raffled for Harvest Hills and make “comfort quilts” for local fire victims. If you want to get involved in this great group, contact Pat Glover at 647-5163 or drop in at any meeting. They meet the first and third Thursday of the month at 7 p.m. and every Tuesday at 10 a.m. at the Bridgton Community Center on Depot Street. Thank you all for making a difference!

Sunset-Moonrise Hike

The rolling hills of South Bridgton offer stunning views of Mount Washington and the Presidential Range, along with the more immediate lakes and ponds of Maine. Local conservation efforts have protected the beautiful Bald Pate Mountain for the public to enjoy, and there will be a hike up it on Saturday, Dec. 10.

Beginning at 3 p.m., nature lovers will gather to watch the sun set and see the moon rise from the summit of Bald Pate. Hikers should bring appropriate layered clothing, water, snacks and snowshoes if necessary. Flashlights or headlamps are recommended. This is only a moderately difficult, 2-hour hike, and free to the public. Meet in the parking lot of Bald Pate, which is just a few miles down Route 107 south towards Sebago, on the left.

Bridgton’s ninth annual Festival of Lights takes place this
Saturday, Dec. 3, starting at 5:15 p.m. (Courtesy photo)


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