Rockland’s Festival of Lights draws crowds

Posted Nov. 29, 2008, at 3:11 p.m.

ROCKLAND, Maine – Laughing children with their smiling parents and grandparents walked the stone-lined path between Farnsworth Art Museum and the Wyeth Center Saturday afternoon in an uninhibited show of fun during Rockland’s annual Festival of Lights.

Everyone enjoyed free admission to the museum, said Jeff Charland, director of operations at the Farnsworth and chairman of the Rockland Downtown Alliance, which shared responsibility with the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce in organizing the weekend festival.

Activities specifically designed to appeal to children were hosted throughout the Farnsworth campus. Children were issued activity “passports” at the front desk which, when stamped at each of the activity stations, could be presented at the museum store for a prize.

There was a main lobby tree, a puppet show by Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers, and the Main Street windows were lavishly decorated with trees, trains and tableaux celebrating the holiday season.

The weekend began in the rain with the lighting of the lobster trap Christmas tree at 6 p.m. Friday at Mildred Merrill Park.

“The rebuilding of the tree makes a better story than the building of it,” said Charland.

High winds of up to 60 mph Thursday blew apart the tree, which is made up of lobster crates and decorated with lobstermen’s buoys.

“All of us gathered at the tree Friday morning to decide what to do, and people offered to lend a hand in putting the tree back together.

The city of Rockland fire department sent a bucket truck to help erect the tree again, said Charland.

“When it was up again, some were almost in tears that the tree could be rebuilt in time,” he said.

The festivities continued Saturday with the Craft & Gift Market at the Samoset Resort, Share the Wonder Celebration at The Farnsworth, arrival of the Shopping train from Brunswick at 11 a.m. and food at various restaurants from 1 to 8 p.m.

The day was highlighted by a parade at 6 p.m. from The Brown Bag along Main Street to Harbor Park.

Sunday’s events will feature a pancake breakfast with Santa at the Trade Winds Motor Inn from 9 to 11 a.m followed by an Open House tour of the Historic Inns of Rockland to raise funds for Coats for Kids campaign.

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