SOUTH PORTLAND — Area communities are ringing in the holidays with festivals and fun beginning Friday, Dec. 6, at Mill Creek Park.

The annual South Portland Holiday Fest runs from 4:30-7 p.m., highlighted by the Christmas tree lighting at 6:15 p.m. in Mill Creek Park.

The festival also includes visits with Santa Claus at City Hall Council Chambers from 5-6:30 p.m., caroling led by middle and high school students, and horse-drawn carriage rides through Knightville.

Festival visitors are also encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to stuff a  bus that will be parked at the new transportation shelter on Thomas Street. Donated food and money will benefit the South Portland Food Cupboard.

From 2-6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 7, the third annual Christmas on the Cape will include family activities and a scavenger hunt at 13 Cape Elizabeth businesses. Santa Claus will greet families at Coastal Wellness Chiropractic, while members of the Jordan families from Jordan’s and Alewive’s Brook farms will help make “reindeer food.”

The festival also includes a 4 p.m. performance by Rick Charette and a 6:15 p.m. tree lighting outside the Public Services building.

Also on Dec. 7, Scarborough Community Services hosts Santa in the Park from 5-6:30 p.m. at Memorial Park.

Visitors are invited to park at the high school and take a hayride to the park, were Santa Claus will arrive at 5:15 p.m.

Carols will be led by the Portland Community Chorus, and free hot chocolate and cider will be served by members of the Scarborough Rotary Club. The tree will be lit by Santa at 5:20 p.m. and the festival closes with fireworks at 6:30 p.m.

Visitors are also asked to bring an unwrapped toy for distribution by Project GRACE.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

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