April 23, 2018
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Christmas hits Rockland this weekend

By Heather Steeves, BDN Staff

ROCKLAND, Maine — Santa Claus made a grand arrival Friday and embraced hundreds of children waiting for him on the public landing in the drizzling rain. A horse-drawn carriage brought him to his small, red temporary house on Main Street where children sat on his lap and whispered their Christmas wishes to him.

Santa’s arrival Friday kicked off Rockland’s three-day Festival of Lights, which concludes Sunday.

“We had to float in, but we’re here thanks to the U.S. Coast Guard,” Santa said outside his hut while he stood next to Mrs. Claus Friday afternoon.

Corynn Prescott, 4, of Rockport jumped up and down holding a pine branch as she and her dad waited in line to see Santa near Main Street. Prescott asked Santa for a dollhouse and a kitty.

Annika Charland, 8, of Rockland also visited Santa’s workshop where she asked him for books. Santa asked her to submit the request in writing.

“He told me make sure to put your letter in the mailbox,” Charland said Friday. “I’m almost done.”

Next in line was 8-month-old Natalie Flagg who apparently didn’t ask for anything.

“She only cried a little bit,” said her mother, Hilary Flagg, as she held the infant, who wore a red and white outfit. “She was curious about Santa. She loves his beard.”

The infant tugged at the beard as her parents took photos.

Rockland’s annual transformation into Christmastown has begun. People will drink cocoa while horses clop down Main Street pulling carriages past the gingerbread houses in the storefronts, decorated with wreaths and garland — all as part of this year’s Festival of Lights.

Friday wrapped up with the traditional lighting of the lobster trap tree. This year, the tree got some extra special attention, drawing the Discovery Channel to film it as part of a special extreme Christmas tree show.

The tree takes 152 stacked traps to create, and 100 of those traps will be raffled off as a fundraiser for Rockland Main Street Inc., the nonprofit that is putting on the festival. Three hundred tickets will be sold at $50 each, according to Rockland Main Street Inc.’s executive director Lorain Francis.

Francis said last year people gathered around the trap tree despite the poor weather.

“It always rains,” she said Friday. “But people always come out.”

Last year, Santa danced with children and musicians started playing.

“It was a magical moment,” she said. “This is why we do it. It’s a real community event.”

Events begin at 9 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 27, with a craft fair in Rockport. Trolleys will transport Rocklanders to the craft fair and back to Main Street for events including Share the Wonder Holiday Celebration at the Farnsworth Art Museum, where everyone gets in free for the day and can decorate cookies and watch puppet shows. By 6 p.m., Main Street will be shut down for traffic as a two-hour parade marches down Route 1.

“We want kids to come out; everything is lighted,” Francis said. “It’s building the holiday tradition of what we want families to do: Come downtown and think about shopping and dining and all those things.”

Downtown restaurants will hold a fundraiser Saturday for the Area Interfaith Outreach food pantry with Eat, Drink and be Merry from 1 to 3 p.m. For a donation, people can hop around to several downtown restaurants and taste test dishes.

The Historic Inns and Friends of the Rockland Public Library will hold an auction and open house. The library’s silent auction will have trees up for bid. The open house will allow people to take a self-guided tour of four inns and six decorated homes in town. The events cost $10 total.

Sunday will conclude the festival with Breakfast with Santa at the Tradewinds Motor Inn’s restaurant putting on a pancake feast, which costs $2 for children and $5 for adults. Children can have their photos taken with Santa for $10.

“We priced it that way so you can afford to take your kids,” Francis said of the breakfast. “Kids can wander up to Santa and talk to him.”

Once the festival wraps up, Santa still will be in his workshop every Saturday afternoon, and the horses with their carriages will offer free rides from noon to 4 p.m. each Saturday until Christmas.

For information, visit ocklandmainstreet.comr.


Festival of Lights events

Saturday, Nov. 27

9 a.m.-3 p.m. Craft and gift market, Samoset Resort. $3.

10 a.m.-4 p.m. Trolley rides from Rockland’s downtown to the Samoset Resort. Free.

10 a.m.-1 p.m. Share the Wonder Holiday Celebration with cookie decorating and a puppet show, Farnsworth Museum. Free.

Noon-3 p.m. Santa visits, Santa’s Workshop outside the Tradewinds Motor Inn. Free.

Noon-4 p.m. Horse and carriage rides, start near Key Bank on Main Street. Free.

1-3 p.m. Eat, Drink and be Merry food tour to benefit the AIO food pantry. Donations.

1-5 p.m. Historic Inns and Friends of Rockland Public Library open house and festival of trees, holiday auction and self-guided tours of inns. $10.

6-8 p.m. Parade, Main Street. Free. Donations of canned food and unwrapped toys accepted.

Sunday, Nov. 28

9-11 a.m. Breakfast with Santa, the Tradewinds Motor Inn’s Red Jacket Restaurant. $2 kids, $5 adults.

Saturdays until Christmas

Noon-3 p.m. Santa visits, Santa’s Workshop outside Tradewinds Motor Inn. Free.

Noon-4 p.m. Horse and carriage rides, start near Key Bank on Main Street. Free.

Source: rocklandmainstreet.com

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