Christmas Prelude in Kennebunkport is the most festive time of year. Every merchant, mansion, and even the boats are decked with bows, boughs, greens and holly. The seaside town of Kennebunkport transforms to a winter postcard of Christmas spirit. From garlands on lobster traps to beautiful seaside doors decorated with sparkling seashells and starfish, it’s magical and memorable. No wonder Yankee Magazine and The Travel Channel and HGTV have named Kennebunkport in their top Christmas Towns and best Holiday fests.
As for the best events during Christmas Prelude, the number of holiday activities and offerings would fill Santa’s sack, and take up the entire Tourist News, but here are a few of my favorites:
The Champagne Reception at White Columns
Sip Champagne cocktails at the beautiful 1853 Kennebunkport Historical Society mansion, formerly The Knot House. Elegant decorations, delightful bites prepared by members, and a chance to walk through this magnificent Greek revival home. The Bush First Family Exhibit is open to browse as well, this wonderful display of the President and First Lady Barbara Bush’s family photos and fun anecdotes from Walkers Point and the White House. The gift shop at White Columns is fantastic for gifts too.
The Tree Lighting in Dock Square is the quintessential kick off event
Dock Square fills to the brim with revelers for caroling and the hokey but happy lighting of the tree. This year’s tree is huge by the way. Head for appetizers and drinks at Alisson’s or David’s immediately there after – it’s a big night for this small seaside town.
The Holiday Craft Fair at Consolidated School
In this humble grade school gather Maine crafts people to sell their clever jewelry, knits, food items, home furnishings and more… at direct from maker/seller prices – bring cash!
The Prelude Christmas Tree Tour
Visit six local homes and see their splendid decorations and themed Christmas trees. The event benefits the Kennebunk Highs School, and puts to shame any Charlie Brown tree due to its sophistication and holiday splendor.
Prelude Beer Garden at David’s KPT at the Boathouse Waterfront Hotel
A classic beer garden outside David’s KPT with brews and bites and even football on the big screen. This is nice break from shopping, Saturday 12-7pm on Ocean Ave.
The Prelude Hat Parade
Now in its 9th year, outlandish hat wearing wanderers parade through Dock Square – kids and crazy adults don holiday decorated bonnets at 3pm Saturday, the first weekend of Prelude.
Caroling at the Franciscan Monastery
6:30pm Saturday the first weekend of Prelude is a beautiful scene of singing and remembrance of the true spirit of the Christmas holiday. Candlelight and a bonfire bring this night to life.
Breakfast with Mrs. Claus at Nonantum Resort
Santa gets all the kudos, but Mrs Claus and her elves host a lovely breakfast for the kids and parents – even includes a photo opp with St Nick’s best gal. The first Sunday of Prelude at the Nonantum Resort.
Fire and Ice
Nonantum Resort on the Kennebunk River puts on this icy hot party. Outdoor ice sculptures and an ice bar serve drinks, while a huge bonfire blazes by the River. Dress warm and festive for this fun evening with music and proceeds to benefit the Make a Wish foundation.
Christmas Prelude Fireworks
The second Friday of Prelude, December 12, the skies over Dock Square light up with a brilliant display of fireworks reflected in the cove at 6:15, following the Tree Lighting.
Historic Inns Holiday Open House
Four beautiful historic inns of Kennebunkport open their doors for tours, with holiday cookies and seasonal drinks. Visit the Captain Lord Mansion, Captain Jefferds Inn, Maine Stay Inn and 1802 House. Ticket benefit the local food pantry
Happy Prelude to all. Now in its 33 year, this pre-holiday festival is among the best in the world. For more details about all these favorite Prelude events, and so much more, see the Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude schedule here.