AUGUSTA — With Thanksgiving in the rearview mirror, it is full speed ahead into the winter holiday season across central Maine, starting with events this weekend.

Here’s a roundup of events across the region. Readers should check with their own community to see what special events are in store.

Many communities are taking part in #ShopSmall Saturday events, highlighting local small businesses.

Please note that in many areas, wearing masks indoors is a requirement.


Augusta kicks off 12 days of Grinch-themed holiday events Friday with the 5 p.m. tree lighting in Market Square; a virtual option will also be available for those who don’t wish to attend in person.


The Augusta Downtown Alliance and the Colonial Theatre is hosting the River of Trees from Friday through Sunday, including two hours Sunday morning for a sensory safe tour. Admission is $2.

On Saturday, Santa and Ms. Claus will tour Augusta from 3-5 p.m. accompanied by the Augusta Police and Fire departments. A fireworks show is scheduled for 5 p.m. in Mill Park.

Other events, fashioned around “How the Grinch Stole Christmas,” are scheduled throughout the month, including Who-breakfasts on Dec. 4 and 11 at the Augusta Civic Center and a showing of “The Grinch” at 5 p.m. in Mill Park on Dec. 18.

A full listing of events can be found on the Augusta Parks and Recreation Department’s Facebook page.


On Saturday, from 4:30-6 p.m., Chelsea hosts a free a community spaghetti dinner with music from a local band at the Chelsea Elementary School, followed at 6:30 p.m. by the town tree lighting and a visit from Santa between the school and the Chelsea Town Office.


From 10 a.m.-4 p.m., the Chelsea PTA plans to hold a craft fair.

An overview of some of the 35 trees on display seen Wednesday at Johnson Hall in downtown Gardiner. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal


For two weekends, starting Friday, the Johnson Hall Performing Arts Center will host its fourth annual Festival of Trees fundraiser. From Nov. 26-28 and Dec. 3-5, Johnson Hall will open its doors for a showing of trees sponsored by businesses and organizations that will be raffled.

On Sunday, the 12th annual Latke Party to celebrate the start of Hanukkah will be held from 4-6 p.m. at Goldfinch Creamery at 318 Water St.

On Dec. 4, the Parade of Lights celebrates the holiday season starting at 4:30 p.m. at Winter and Water streets, traveling south on Water Street to Waterfront Park. Parade awards will be announced at 5:30 p.m.

At the end of the parade, there will be caroling in Dearborn Park (next to Johnson Hall) as Santa lights the downtown Christmas tree.


In the event of inclement weather, the parade and tree lighting will take place Dec. 11.


On Saturday, Monmouth’s 3rd annual tree lighting takes place on the green across from the Monmouth Museum. Festivities begin at 5:30 p.m., at the Monmouth Fire Department at 771 Main St. with cocoa with Sparky, the fire department’s mascot. Following a carol sing on the walk to the holiday tree, Santa will greet the children.

The Monmouth Fire Department will host pictures with Santa from 9-11 a.m. at the station. Drinks and cookies will be served.


On Dec. 3, Santa will arrive in Richmond Waterfront Park for the holiday tree lighting. Photos with Santa and hot chocolate and cookies will be provided by Downeast Credit Union.



Skowhegan is hosting #ShopSmall Week, from Saturday through Dec. 4, featuring three dozen businesses offering discounts and incentives.

On Dec. 3, holiday events begin with a free 4 p.m. showing of “The Grinch” at Spotlight Cinemas at The Strand. At 7 p.m., the SKOW-Whoville Parade starts rolling from Elm Street to Madison Avenue and Water Street.

On Dec. 4, a host of holiday events are scheduled including a search for the Grinch’s heart and family activities in Coburn Park.


On Saturday, Joy to the Ville returns for its fourth year of family friendly holiday events, starting with a free showing of “Scrooged” at Railroad Square Cinema, followed by crafts and a holiday-themed story time at the Children’s Book Cellar with free gift bags.


Luminary lightings are scheduled for 4 p.m. on Main Street and 4:30 p.m., on Castonguay Square, coordinated by Waterville Creates.

Santa and Mrs. Claus plan to arrive at 5 p.m., traveling down Main Street to Castonguay Square where they will light the Christmas tree before crossing the bridge to Winslow, where they will light the gazebo decorations.


More than three dozen vendors and community craftsmen will offer artwork, local foods, crafts and a cardboard snowman-making contest at the Wayne Holiday Stroll from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Dec. 4 and 5.


The Augusta West Campground hosts its inaugural holiday light show starting Saturday through Jan. 1. The display includes more than 100 lighted trees, large display pieces and special lighting effects at 183 Holmes Lane. This is a ticketed event.


After a one-year hiatus, the Winthrop Holiday Parade, sponsored by the Winthrop Lakes Region Chamber, resumes this year.

The parade begins at 3:30 p.m. on Dec. 4 at the top of Main Street by Audette’s Hardware and travels the street through downtown Winthrop.

In the event of snow, the parade will be held the following day.



Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.