KENNEBUNKPORT – It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Kennebunkport, with the 40th annual Christmas Prelude (Dec. 2-12) transforming the town into a winter wonderland of holiday-themed events and activities.

The 40th annual Christmas Prelude is scheduled for Dec. 2-12. For a full schedule of events, visit Dan King photo

There’s even more magic this year, following a year of virtual events due to the pandemic. The newest and largest event is the Prelude Opening Festival from 6 to 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3, a block-long family-friendly celebration featuring live music, street performers, fire eating shows, fire baton performances and more. There will be snacks available from local vendors, appearances by special characters, all around the Dock Square tree. Also new is the Prelude 40 Trees Trail, which will light up at 6:30 p.m. that night. The party continues the following Friday, Dec. 10, with the Prelude Family Festival, also from 6 to 8 p.m. and featuring “surprise” fireworks.

The schedule is chock full of events each and every day, with the Cape Porpoise Lobster Trap Tree lighting, a pooch parade (with costumes), Santa’s village – complete with reindeer, a new Bavarian Christmas Market and, of course, Santa’s trip via lobster boat. The Hat Parade, in its 16th year, will feature a new route through Lower Village Kennebunk.

The town’s shops and restaurants will be decorated in holiday lights, and visitors will have ample opportunity to come in out of the cold after a village stroll and warm up with a cocktail, specialty coffee or cocoa at spots all over town.

Also returning this year are all of the craft fairs Prelude is known for – places to find hand-crafted gifts.

All of the events have been made possible through the support of local sponsors, particularly premier sponsor Kennebunk Savings.

The Kennebunkport Business Association is also taking the safety of its guests seriously, offering free masks and sanitizer (sponsored by Southern Maine Health Care), spreading events over larger areas to minimize crowding and encouraging social distancing where possible are all part of “The Prelude Promise.”

Visitors are encouraged to discover why HGTV called Christmas Prelude the No. 2 holiday event in America, and Kennebunkport one of the country’s Top 10 Christmas towns.

For a schedule and more details, visit Christmas Prelude has been brought to staged for 40 years by the Kennebunkport Business Association, an all-volunteer group that works to plan the events all year long.

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