Winter in Maine is what you make of it, so get out your calendar and makes some plans. There’s plenty to do here, indoor and out, from live performances and sports, art exhibits, concerts and food-focused events to polar dips, sledding, curling, skating and cocoa contests.


“Painted Ladies”

Bauman Gallery, Brick Store Museum, 117 Main St., Kennebunk;

An exhibit of the work of six artists who created together via Zoom during the pandemic: Emily Johansen and Martha Lamarche of Portland, Diana Coit of South Portland, Carol MacLeod of Kennebunkport, Sandra Long of Naples and Ann Clark of Denmark.



“A Christmas Carol”

Portland Stage, 25A Forest Ave., Portland;

Celebrate the holidays with Charles Dickens’ timeless tale sure to warm the heart of every Scrooge. Professional actors bring this Christmas classic to life with charming costumes, delightful music and a few ghostly apparitions.

The 19th Annual Festival of Trees at the Saco Museum. Sofia Aldinio/Staff Photographe


Festival of Trees

Dyer Library/Saco Museum, 371 Main St., Saco;


Local businesses and community volunteers lovingly decorate dozens of Christmas trees in a regional history museum and invite the public to vote on their favorites. Open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday; and noon to 8 p.m. Friday.



Maddy’s Theatre, Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine, Portland;

Embark on an enchanting adventure with Lisa and Corduroy, the lovable stuffed bear, as he comes to life and searches for his missing button in a lively department store, encountering exciting challenges and hysterical antics in this heart-warming stage adaptation of Don Freeman’s beloved stories.



Maine Celebration of Lights

Cumberland Fairgrounds, 197 Blanchard Road, Cumberland;

Immerse yourself in a magical wonderland as you drive through an enchanting one-mile display of over a million twinkling lights. Hot chocolate, fried dough and souvenirs available. Times and prices available online.

Free ice skating is part of Northern Lights at L.L. Bean in Freeport. Photo courtesy of L.L. Bean


Northern Lights

L.L. Bean Headquarters, Freeport;


Walk through a twinkle tunnel, visit a model train village, gather ‘round inside a giant snow globe, and try your hand at curling. Santa and his reindeer visit Friday through Sunday. Check the website for specific events, including a KidNight New Year’s Eve Celebration on Dec. 31 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.


“Portraits of Yarmouth”

Yarmouth History Center, 118 East Elm St., Yarmouth;

An exhibition of Amy Toneys’ watercolor paintings of Yarmouth’s most iconic buildings, past and present, alongside historic photographs that served as inspiration. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.



“Fragments of Epic Memory”

Portland Museum of Art, 7 Congress St.;

This exhibition of photographs, paintings and video is an immersive encounter with the Caribbean and its diaspora. Through these fragmented glimpses, we are reminded that our collective memory is an interwoven tapestry of existence, connecting us in ways seen and unseen.

DEC. 17

Lowry’s Lodge Holiday Reading

3-5 p.m., Maine Jewish Museum, 267 Congress St., Portland;


John Reinhart, author of nine collections of poetry, will read his work, followed by an open poetry reading hour. Enjoy chocolate, seltzer and a chorus of voices. Free, but online registration is required.

DEC. 21

Choral Art Holiday Singalong

12:15 p.m., Portland Conservatory of Music, 28 Neal St., Portland;

What better way to get in the holiday spirit than to sing? This 45-minute midday holiday sing-along is free, but RSVP online. The newly renovated concert space at Portland Conservatory of Music in a former church seats approximately 150.

DEC. 22 and 23


Portland Ballet’s “Victorian Nutcracker”

7:30 p.m. Friday, 2 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland,

Maine’s professional ballet company puts a local twist on the classic “Nutcracker,” with the first act set at Victoria Mansion with characters from Portland’s past.

DEC. 28

WinterKids’ Welcome to Winter

5-7 p.m., Lost Valley Ski Area, Auburn;


Welcome winter with a chance for the kiddos to try some of the joys of the season: snowboarding, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and other outdoor fun. Free, thanks to sponsors and volunteers.

Polar Bear Dip & Dash. Photo courtesy of the Natural Resources Council of Maine

DEC. 31

Polar Bear Dip & Dash

Southern Maine Community College, South Portland;

Dip, dash or both to support Natural Resources Council of Maine in its work to fight climate change. Registration is $60 per person to participate in either or both the dash (5K run/walk) at 9 a.m. and dip (polar plunge at Williard Beach) at 10:30 a.m. Prizes for top fundraisers, top runners and best costume.

DEC. 31


New Year Eve: Indoor Beach Party

10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine, Thompson’s Point, Portland;

Celebrate the new year with an indoor seaside party featuring ocean-themed art, ice cream treats and a countdown to 2024 with a Sea Star Drop in Maddy’s Theatre.

Brave participants in a previous year’s Lobster Dip in Old Orchard Beach. Photo by Amy Paradysz

JAN. 1

Lobster Dip

The Brunswick, Old Orchard Beach;


Hundreds of people have raced into the Atlantic every New Year’s Day since 1988 as part of this Special Olympics Maine fundraising tradition. Costumes (crustaceans and other) encouraged. Register in advance, raise $100 or more and choose a dip “wave” (11 a.m. or noon). Get your Lobster Dip T-shirt and stay for the after party with bands 12/OC and Something Stupid.

JAN. 4-7

“Inside Man”

Schoolhouse Arts Center at Sebago Lake, 16 Richville Road, Standish;

One man’s journey to find redemption after a tragic accident landed him in prison for manslaughter. Written by Westbrook resident Randy Hunt, it’s a four-time winner of the Theatre Deathmatch at The Crowbait Club in Portland. Shows at 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

JAN. 12 AND 13


“Come From Away”

Merrill Auditorium, Portland;

On 9/11, a small town in Newfoundland opened its homes to 7,000 stranded travelers. During that week, uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night and gratitude grew into friendship. This Broadway National Tour musical by Tony nominees Irene Sankoff and David Hein tells the story and pulls at the heartstrings.

JAN. 17 TO FEB. 11

“One Man, Two Guvnors”

Good Theater at Hill Arts, 76 Congress St., Portland;


In 1963 Brighton, an out-of-work skiffle player becomes separately employed by two men – a gangster and an upper-class twit – and tries to keep the two from meeting. This over-the-top comedy is written by Richard Bean, directed by Sally Wood and stars Dustin Tucker.

JAN. 19

MAMM Presents Rock of (All) Ages

5 p.m., Space, 534-538 Congress St., Portland

Maine Academy of Modern Music is hosting its first showcase of both adult and student bands at Space. Bouncing from original songs to classic covers, multi-generational MAMM bands will play something for everyone. $10 general admission, $5 for students.

JAN. 21


Hot Cocoa Sip-Off

1-3 p.m., Congress Square Park, Portland;

Sip cocoa recipes from The Pink Waffle, The Whole Almond, Milk Bottle and Kittylamb and cast your vote for category winners. Bring your own mug or buy a handmade one and gather around a fire pit. Suggested donation $5.

JAN. 25

Full Moon Storytime

5:30-6:30 p.m., Gilsland Farm, 20 Gilsland Farm Road, Falmouth;


Put the kids in their pajamas and their hiking boots for some indoor free play, a moonlit storytime and related activities. $7, $5 for members, free for siblings under 2.

JAN. 26 TO FEB. 11

“39 Steps”

The Portland Players, 420 Cottage Road, South Portland

A man with a boring life meets a woman with a thick accent who says she’s a spy. When he takes her home, she is murdered. Soon, a mysterious organization called “The 39 Steps” is hot on the man’s trail in a manhunt that climaxes in a death-defying finale. 7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, 2:30 p.m. Sundays.

JAN. 26 TO FEB. 25


“Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale”

Maddy’s Theatre, Children’s Museum & Theatre of Maine, Thompson’s Point, Portland;

Trixie, Daddy and Knuffle Bunny embark on a trip to the Laundromat. But the exciting adventure takes a dramatic and funny turn when Trixie realizes somebunny was left behind. A musical based on the picture book by Mo Willems.

JAN. 27

Studio Two: The Early Beatles Tribute

8 p.m., One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland;


Beatles tribute band Studio Two captures the excitement of early Beatles tours, playing a catalog of No. 1 hit songs released from 1962-66. With historically correct equipment and convincing costumes, this is the next best thing to a time machine.

JAN. 27 AND FEB. 2 AND 3

Maine State Ballet’s “Tap, Tap, Jazz”

Lopez Theater, Maine State Ballet, 348 Route 1, Falmouth;

Shake off the winter blues with this annual crowd-pleaser of a show with Broadway-style song and dance routines for the whole family.

Dancers from Step Afrika! Photo by Sekou Luke

JAN. 28


Step Afrika!

7 p.m., Sanford Performing Arts Center, 100 Alumni Blvd., Sanford;

Global dance company Step Afrika! expands on the African-American stepping tradition, integrating songs, storytelling, humor and audience participation in traditional Zulu dance.

FEB. 1

Martha Redbone Roots Project

First Parish Church, 425 Congress St., Portland;


Blues and soul singer Martha Redbone brings a unique gumbo of music and storytelling, giving voice to issues of racial justice, connecting cultures and celebrating the human spirit. Redbone is joined by Aaron Whitby on piano, Charlie Burnham on violin and Fred Cash on bass.

FEB. 1-29

Flavors of Freeport

Downtown Freeport,

A full month of foodie events – tastings, happy hours, food trucks and live music. Popular 21-plus events include Fare & Ice (Feb. 16), featuring samples from area chefs with local brews and beverages, and the Dance Party with Motor Booty Affair (Feb. 17) at Hilton Garden Inn Freeport Downtown. Don’t miss the Frosty Frolic (Feb. 24), an outdoor soiree celebrating local food, sea farmers and fishermen, and music.

FEB. 2


Center for Grieving Children’s Love Gala

6-9 p.m., Brick South, Thompson’s Point, Portland;

Enjoy an evening of bidding, socializing and dancing to benefit the Maine nonprofit that provides free peer support, outreach and education for grieving children, teens, young adults and families.

FEB. 3

Portland Youth Dance Glitz & Glam Gala

5-8 p.m. Woodfords Club, 179 Woodford St., Portland;


Celebrate the 25th anniversary of Portland Youth Dance with a 21-plus gala featuring a silent auction, food and, of course, dancing. Portland Youth Dance is a nonprofit serving the greater Portland community by providing a pre-professional dance company and outreach programs for kids and teens.

FEB. 8

Portland Museum of Art Glitz Winter Bash

6:30-9:30 p.m., 7 Congress Square, Portland;

Experience a dazzling kaleidoscope of color at the PMA Bash, a museum party like no other. Tickets are $50 and include an open bar and sweet and savory bites.

Hundreds of attendees gather in front of the town hall during the 10th annual Biddeford WinterFest. Derek Davis/Staff Photographer

FEB. 9-11


Biddeford WinterFest

Downtown Biddeford,

A cabin-fever busting weekend with a giant manmade sledding hill at City Square, pony rides, snowshoeing, pizza and skating at Westbrook Skating Rink (all free). Adults-only sledding on Friday night. Get tickets to see comedian Juston McKinney at City Theater on Saturday.

FEB. 17 AND 18

Sebago Lake Rotary’s Ice Fishing Derby

Sebago Lake, Windham;


Get outside and safely ice fish on any of 26 lakes and ponds in Cumberland County, with bragging rights and cash prizes available. There’s also a polar dip at Raymond Beach (Feb. 18). Proceeds to benefit Feed the Need, serving 13 local food pantries and other Rotary charities. Register online.

FEB. 19

Maine Mariners Hockey & Retro Post-Game Skate

6 p.m., Cross Insurance Arena, 1 Civic Center Square, Portland;

Bring your skates, dress like it’s the ’90s and show your stuff on the ice after the Mariners matchup against the Trois-Rivieres Lions.

Members of the Boston-based Chinese Folk Art Workshop performed at Westbrook Performing Arts Center as part of the Chinese and American Friendship Association of Maine’s last lunar new year celebration. Ben McCanna/Staff Photographer

FEB. 24


Lunar New Year

10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Westbrook Performing Arts Center, 471 Stroudwater St., Westbrook;

The Chinese & American Friendship Association of Maine’s annual Lunar New Year’s celebration welcomes the Year of the Dragon with Chinese dance performances (1 p.m.), food and culture activities such as calligraphy, mahjong and tai chi. Tickets available online or at the door.

FEB. 25

Maine Celtics vs. Westchester Knicks

1 p.m., Portland Expo Building, Park Avenue,


Close out school vacation week with an afternoon of NBA G League basketball.

Music Jason Isbell

Jason Isbell of Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit performs at Bourbon and Beyond Music Festival last year in Louisville, Ky. Photo by Amy Harris/Invision/AP, File

FEB. 26

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit

8 p.m., State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland;

Grammy Award-winning singer-songwriter Jason Isbell with the band 400 Unit and special guest Palehound.



“Valor, Outrage, and Woman”

Wish Theater, Bowdoin College, Brunswick;

Bowdoin College’s first bilingual main season production, “Valor, Outrage, and Woman” is a 17th-century Spanish comedy classic blended with 20th-century film noir, with original music performed by Ensemble La Chimera.

Amy Paradysz is a freelance writer and photographer from Scarborough. She can be reached at

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