Santa waves to admirers from a lobster boat float during the 2018 Parade of Lights in Freeport. Photo contributed by Visit Freeport

Santa’s elves may be hard at work at the North Pole, but for the next few weeks, the big man will have his hands full attending holiday celebrations across the Midcoast.

Freeport’s 29th annual Sparkle Celebration kicks off Friday evening at 6 p.m., when dozens of floats from local businesses and community organizations will lead Santa down Main Street to bring the town’s Talking Tree to life.

The march marks the start of a 10-day festival that could bring more than 60,000 visitors to Freeport, according to Kelly Edwards, executive director of Visit Freeport.

Events like the first Sparkle Stroll on the evening of Dec. 8 and the Frosty Frolic on Dec. 10 will offer visitors a dose of holiday cheer in the form of hot chocolate, food trucks and live music.

But besides bringing camaraderie and holiday decorations to Freeport, the festival will help lure shoppers at a time when many small businesses count on racking up big sales numbers, Edwards said.

“These events aren’t just about having fun,” she said. “They’re also to support our community of businesses at a time when they really need it. These events are a huge part of what results in folks choosing to come to Freeport, and we’re glad that translates into dollars being spent in our local business community.”


In addition to special deals and discounts, Sparkle Celebration attendees will get to determine the winner of Freeport’s holiday decorating contest, which will net the town’s most festive storefront a free digital advertisement and a trophy.

Snoopy and Woodstock hug outside Pamela’s World ahead of this year’s downtown window decorating contest in Bath. Several of the store’s employees have chipped in on the colorful display, according to co-owner Tom Boenitz. Photo contributed by Pamela’s World

Up the coast, Bath business owners and residents alike have begun preparing for a decorating contest of their own, as the town’s monthlong holiday celebration heats up.

“It looks just like an old-fashioned snow globe up here, even if it hasn’t snowed,” said Main Street Bath Director Amanda McDaniel. “It is truly like a children’s picture book of Christmastime — like a Hallmark movie.”

According to McDaniel, over 500 people attended An Old-Fashioned Christmas in Bath’s opening tree-lighting event on Nov. 26 — the same night Brunswick lit its own tree. Thanks in part to a television ad that will run thousands of times on the Hallmark Network, the Food Network and HGTV this winter, she predicted crowds double that size for the season’s signature events later this month.

Live music and costumed characters will fill the streets for Bright Night Bath on the evening of Dec. 9 when local businesses will stay open until 8 p.m. for holiday shopping. The following morning, Santa and Mrs. Claus will tour the town during their annual ATV parade starting at 10 a.m.

On Dec. 19, prizes and bragging rights will go to the best-decorated homes and storefronts.


Notching a win in the notoriously festive community won’t be easy, especially with competition from Pamela’s World; after decorating the jewelry store with “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “A Christmas Story” themes the past two years, owners Lucy and Tom Boenitz say this winter’s “Peanuts” display is their best work yet.

“I gotta say,” Tom Boenitz said. “We did a pretty good job this year. And I don’t think we’re done yet either.”

For more information on the Sparkle Celebration, visit the

Information on An Old-Fashioned Christmas in Bath is available at

Comments are not available on this story.