Thanksgiving is just days away, and that means that Christmas Prelude in Kennebunkport is fast approaching! What started as a local Christmas festival has become one of the best Christmas celebrations in the world in this small village on the Maine Coast. And all of the hype is well worth it – holiday spirit truly comes to life during the first two weeks of December, right here in Kennebunkport Maine.
Christmas Prelude was the brain child of the local business association as a “thank you” to the local community 36 years ago, and it quickly blossomed into a world-renowned Christmas Festival. That’s quite the achievement for a town of just over 3,000 year round residents! And over the last 36 years, Christmas Prelude has also grown in length, stretching from November 30 to December 10, 2017.
This year visitors can take part in the festivities with events every day of the week. And while the first tree lighting on December 1 can draw crowds of nearly 10,000 people in Dock Square, it’s really the classic Christmas favorites that keep visitors and locals alike coming back year after year.
Evening candlelit tours of the Historic Inns of Kennebunkport, complete with delicious treats and warm beverages, are a favorite activity and are sure to warm the heart with donations going to the local food pantry. But the annual Walk to Bethlehem (recreating Mary and Joseph’s search for an inn right here in Kennebunkport) has become the “star” for many – with caroling, costumed characters, and candles to light the path. And that means that we at the Maine Stay have to get baking – we celebrate the special event in a local manger with loads of hot cocoa and freshly baked cookies! Looking for something less sugary-sweet? Chestnuts roasting on open fires are common throughout the celebration, just follow your nose!
Craft fairs and gallery open houses abound throughout the celebration, and they also a great way to start (and finish!) lots of your holiday shopping. Best of all, most of the events are within very easy walking distance of the Maine Stay Inn, which means that you can enjoy all the festivities without ever fighting for parking! In fact, the largest craft fair of all is held at the Consolidated School, and the Maine Stay happens to be the closest inn to the action. But no matter which events you choose to enjoy this year, the 2017 Christmas Prelude is sure to be the perfect way to kick off your holiday season!