In late November and December, the sun seems reluctant to rise in the northern hemisphere and is all too eager to drop behind the horizon at the end of the day.
The short days are marked by the first snow flurries and a deepening cold that starts to sink into the earth and a person’s bones, too. All of that is part of the reason why festive lights marking Christmas and other seasonal holidays are so important here, and why Mainers — sometimes thousands of them — gather around during their first lighting of the year. Here, then, are a few of the notable holiday light displays that will illuminate the state during the next few weeks.
The Cape Neddick Light, better known as the Nubble Light, in the southern Maine beach town of York. If you have seen stunning photographs of a lighthouse and attached keeper’s house outlined on a dark, snowy night with glowing white lights, chances are good it was the Nubble. On Saturday, Nov. 25, the ropes of LED lights that garland the 1879 lighthouse will be turned on to the delight of a giant crowd of spectators at the annual Lighting of the Nubble, according to Ryan Avery of the York Parks and Recreation Department. “Nubble Light is said to be the most photographed lighthouse in the U.S. and the Voyager II Space Mission in 1977 carried a picture of Nubble to the outer solar system,” he wrote in an email to the BDN. “The lights have become a staple for Nubble and a tradition that will hopefully carry on forever.” If you go to the lighting, be prepared for a show. The York High School Chamber Singers will be present, along with cocoa, cookies, St. Nick riding a York Beach ladder truck and the Finatics Dive Club, whose members raise a lit Christmas tree out of the water.
Festival of Lights in Bangor
Bangor’s annual Festival of Lights Parade and tree lighting, to be held starting at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 2 on Main Street. The Rotary Club sponsors this parade, which has the theme this year of “Holiday Memories.” As many as 70 glittering marching bands, floats, dancers and other performing groups will lend dazzle to the darkness and will brighten the season for the thousands of spectators who will line the streets of Bangor.
Lobster trap tree
The Rockland lobster trap tree. Back in 2003, residents began constructing a Christmas tree out of lobster traps as a way to celebrate the season with a nod to the midcoast city’s claim as the lobster capital of the world. (There’s another well-known trap tree in Beals in Washington County). In Rockland, where the tree is topped with an illuminated lobster, local lobstermen contributed brightly-colored buoys — about 100 at last count — to decorate the tree. “They’re all used buoys,” Gordon Page of Rockland Main Street said. “Not new, shiny buoys. They’ve been in the water.” The tree will be lit at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 24, as part of Rockland’s annual Festival of Lights celebration.
Mt. Battie star
The star atop Mt. Battie in Camden, about 800 feet above sea level. For more than 50 years, a star has been attached to the historic stone tower on Mt. Battie and then illuminated at 4 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day (this year on Thursday, Nov. 23). The bright star can be seen for miles around, both on land and on sea, and has been spotted from as far away as Matinicus Island.
Gardens Aglow, at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay Harbor. With more than 500,000 LED lights strung around the gardens, the event transforms the monochromatic early winter landscape into an explosion of color. Bill Cullina, the director of gardens, told the BDN in 2015 he hoped the event would bring a whole new audience to the gardens. “It’s still the gardens, but the flowers are now lights,” he said. “And this time of year, what’s better than lights?” Gardens Aglow, which requires tickets, will run from Friday, Nov. 17 – Sunday, Dec. 31. It is closed Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.
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