Whether you’ve been planning your holiday festivities since Labor Day or you’re the kind of person who doesn’t get into the spirit until after the Thanksgiving leftovers have been put away, there’s something for every sort of reveler to do in eastern Maine this holiday season. Here are 10 events that elves of all ages can enjoy.
Wreath making workshops in Orono
The Page Farm & Home Museum on the University of Maine campus in Orono celebrates Maine agriculture and rural living all year round. During the holidays, it hosts several wreath-making workshops run by museum director Patricia Henner, who has many years of wreath-making experience under her belt. There are four two-hour workshops this year, all priced at $20, which includes all materials — though you can bring your own natural decorations to add a personal touch. Workshops are set for 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 24; 5 p.m. Nov. 27; and 6 p.m. Nov. 29. To register, call 581-4100; space is limited.
Festival of Lights parade in Bangor
There are lots and lots of holiday parades all over the state, but one of the largest and most well-attended in Maine is the annual Festival of Lights parade, organized by Bangor Rotary and this year set for 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, followed immediately by the tree lighting in West Market Square. More than 40 floats all decked out in twinkling, multi-colored lights make their way down Main Street in downtown during this 90-minute parade. We recommend a festive scarf and a hot cocoa pairing to complete the experience.
Snuggle bunnies in Lamoine
Cottontail Cottage Rabbit Sanctuary in Lamoine has taken wayward bunnies in since 2011, offering a free-range, rehabiliatative sanctuary for neglected and elderly rabbits. Their holiday open house this year is set for 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2. In addition to getting to visit with the sanctuary’s 60 rescue rabbits, there will be a wreath sale to benefit the sanctuary, bunny ornament decorating for kids, and vegan cookies and hot chocolate for sale. The sanctuary is located at 21 Cottontail Lane in Lamoine; park on the right side of the road.
Holiday tour of the standpipe in Bangor
Four times a year, the general public can go up inside Bangor’s Thomas Hill Standpipe and enjoy the sweeping views from the observation deck at the top of the 110-foot structure. The holiday tour, this year set for noon to 3 p.m. Friday, Dec. 7, also features a special appearance from Santa himself. The event, as always, is free.
Native American market in Orono
Do you really want to wow that special someone with an amazing gift this holiday season? Get yourself to the annual Maine Indian Basketmakers Holiday Market, this year set for 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, at the Collins Center for the Arts on the UMaine campus. Not only can you buy traditional Wabanaki baskets of all sizes, you can also purchase jewelry, clothing and other fineries made by Wabanaki artists. Music, dancing, storytelling and a fashion show are also part of the day.
‘Nutcracker’ performances statewide
Is there anything that says the holidays more than Tchaikovsky’s “The Nutcracker”? Folks in eastern Maine have multiple chances to see the beloved ballet this year. The Robinson Ballet performs “The Nutcracker” at 3 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 25, at the Caribou Performing Arts Center; 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, at the Criterion Theatre in Bar Harbor; and three performances with the Bangor Symphony Orchestra, set for 2 and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 15, and 3 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 16, at the Collins Center for the Arts in Orono. Bangor Ballet performs a condensed version of the ballet, “Nutcracker in a Nutshell,” at 2 p.m. Nov. 25 at the Center Theatre in Dover-Foxcroft; 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 2, at the Crosby Center in Belfast; and 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 8, and 2 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 9, at the Brewer Performing Arts Center. Check with your local performing arts center for ticket prices.
Victorian Christmas in Searsport
The Penobscot Marine Museum takes patrons back in time each December, with a Victorian Christmas celebration this year set for 4-7 p.m. Dec. 7 and 8. The Sea Captain’s House is decorated with period holiday decor; gingerbread lighthouses will be on display; and Victorian ornament making is set for the Old Vestry building, as well as a Christmas sale in the museum shop. Admission is free.
Cirque Dreams Holidaze in Bangor
For the biggest, glitziest holiday show in town, look no further than the Cirque Dreams Holidaze tour, which once again comes to Bangor this December. Acrobats, dancers and other “cirque” artists have been touring this colorful show for several years now. In Bangor, the performance is set for 7:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 13, at the Cross Insurance Center; tickets start at $33 and are available through Ticketmaster.
Holiday High Teas in Ellsworth
A now-classic holiday tradition in Hancock County is the annual Holiday High Teas at the Woodlawn Museum. This year’s event, catered by the Flexit Cafe, features a menu of finger sandwiches and darling little desserts, alongside traditional English teas. Why not delight your children or grandparents with a surprise teatime? Keep your pinkies up. Teas are set for 3 p.m. on the Wednesdays and Fridays before Christmas; tickets are $22 for members and $25 for non-members. Call 667-8671 to reserve.
Holiday jazz and cello music in Bangor
The Bangor Arts Exchange, located on Exchange Street in downtown Bangor, offers two holiday concerts in the week leading up to Christmas. At 7 p.m. on Dec. 15, the Heather Pierson Jazz Trio performs Vince Guaraldi’s “A Charlie Brown Christmas” in its entirety, while on Dec. 21, the third annual Winter Solstice Cello Fest is set for 6 p.m.; presale reservations for the latter are sold out, but limited will-call seats will be available the day of the show. For tickets, visit bangorartsexchange.org.