ROCKLAND, Maine — Laughing children with their smiling parents and grandparents walked the stone-lined path between the Farnsworth Art Museum and the Wyeth Center on 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 for children were held throughout the Farnsworth campus. Children were issued passports at the front desk that could be stamped at each of the activity stations and be presented at the museum store for a prize.
A tree stood in the main lobby, and windows on Main Street were decorated to celebrate the holiday season. A puppet show by Frogtown Mountain Puppeteers at the Farnsworth auditorium was presented four times before audiences of 80 each.
During a shortened version of “How the Grinch Stole Christmas” by Dr. Seuss, children were treated to a hand puppet scene of the Grinch persuading his beagle, Max, to become a reindeer and pull a sleighful of toys to the edge of a cliff to be dumped. The Grinch, of course, had second thoughts and returned the toys to the children.
The weekend began in the rain with the lighting of the lobster trap Christmas tree at 6 p.m. Friday at Mildred Merrill Park.
High winds of up to 60 mph Thursday blew apart some of the first tree, made with lobster traps and decorated with buoys.
“The rebuilding of the tree makes a better story than the building of it,” said Charland. “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 Rockland Fire Department sent a bucket truck to help erect the tree again, Charland said.
“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 and gift market at the Samoset Resort, activities at the Farnsworth, the arrival of the shopping train from Brunswick, food at local restaurants and a parade from The Brown Bag restaurant along Main Street to Harbor Park.
Lorain Francis of the Penobscot Bay Regional Chamber of Commerce, sponsor of the annual craft fair, said a record 64 exhibitors participated this year.
Sunday’s events featured a pancake breakfast with Santa at the Trade Winds Motor Inn followed by an open house tour of the Historic Inns of Rockland to raise funds for the Coats for Kids campaign.
An estimated 1,500 people attended the festival, said a Chamber official.