This nutcracker, by artist Derek Drinon, is one of about 60 included in a open air art show ‘A Nutty Christmas’ Dec. 3 to 13 around the Kennebunks. Courtesy Image

“Classy” and “sassy” are just of the two words being used to describe some “nutty” figures folks will see outside local businesses and some other locations around the area December 3 to 13.

While Prelude – that annual lead-up to the holiday season – will be a bit different in 2020, as are many traditional events, “A Nutty Christmas” outside art show will help folks capture that special holiday feeling in a fun way, organizers say.

The shops will be open, there will be several live Prelude events – and some virtual ones too – and a big feature will be the six and four-foot tall wooden panels, featuring whimsical nutcrackers with holiday themes.

“The Nutty Christmas display will be a fun part of Prelude and beyond, with artwork outside of stores sure to lure shoppers in,” said Kennebunk, Kennebunkport and Arundel Chamber Director Laura Dolce, adding the chamber is lucky to have a Santa lobsterman by artist David Allen in front of their kiosk. “Organized by the ever-creative Danie Connolly, it’s a wonderful way for local artists’ work to be highlighted.”

Hana Pevny, owner of Waldo Emerson Inn in Kennebunk, is among those who will have a nutcracker standing tall, outside. Her nutcracker, a traditional version depicts “a skinny guy with a blue outfit,” – and you have to stop by to see the rest – was created by her father, artist Ernest Pevny.

“It is a community event and a way for everyone to come together and do something a bit fun in a year that has been very trying,” said Pevny, noting the coronavirus pandemic’s effect on the hospitality and other industries. “It’s a way to have a bit of fun and draw people in – people can enjoy it, and social distance.”

Artist Dawn Burns creatd this lobsterman for the upcoming ‘A Nutty Christmas.’ Courtesy Image

Pevny has also pledged to host “A Nutty Christmas” dinner, partnering with Chef Jackson Yordon for socially distanced dining at the inn. The menu isn’t finalized – but will have nut components, she said.

Connolly has painted close to two dozen of the 60-plus nutcrackers, which are to be displayed in downtown Kennebunk, Lower Village, Dock Square in Kennebunkport and in Cape Porpoise. In all, 30 artists have taken part.

“We’ve got 40 merchants, and we’re looking for another 25,” said Connolly, adding any local business interested should contact her right away at 985-8888. Proceeds from the event will benefit a local children’s Christmas charity, said Connolly.

Holly Ross, a local painter for 30 years, is one of the artists. She co-owns Seaside Gallery and Gifts in Lower Village with Lisa Biasin Loder, who owns Lee’s Art in Wells and also painted nutcrackers for the event.

Among the nutcrackers on display for ‘A Nutty Christmas’ open air art show is this one by artist Holly Ross. Courtesy Image

“It seemed likes the type of project to have fun with,” said Ross. She pointed out that holiday shopping is important to local shopkeepers, and with coronavirus still a factor, the season will be different here this year.

Ross decided on a blue and white nautical theme, with a play on the pandemic. The nutcracker sports an SOS life ring, and the flag on the nutcracker’s sailing ship hat bids 2020 adieu.

Connolly said the outside art show is a way to have some holiday fun – folks can have their photos taken beside their favorite nutcracker and those who check out one installation – say in downtown Kennebunk, can motor to the other venues – much the way folks used to do viewing Christmas light displays.

A “reveal” is planned for Maine Art Hill on Nov. 27 and 28 before the nutcrackers stand “on guard” at their stores.

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