Christmas Prelude in Kennebunkport, now in year 37, is such a magical time of year in Maine. Prelude is also busy, encompassing 11 days of events – spanning the first two weekends of December. As the seaside towns of Kennebunkport, Kennebunk and Cape Porpoise transform to a winter postcard of Christmas spirit, its impossible to partake in all the holiday happenings! See the complete Christmas Prelude schedule and Christmas Prelude Photos from years past.
Here are our favorite Christmas Prelude Events:
Christmas Reception at White Columns – Thursday Nov 29 7pm
Sip Champagne cocktails at the beautiful 1853 Kennebunkport Historical Society mansion, formerly The Nott House. This elegant party is your opportunity to tour the magnificent Greek revival home, decorated for the holidays, while enjoying hors d’oeuvres prepared by members. The Bush First Family Exhibit is open to browse as well, with a wonderful display of the President and former First Lady Barbara Bush’s family photos from Walkers Point to the White House. The gift shop at White Columns is fantastic too. Ticket are $30, $40 for non-members, and benefit the Kennebunkport Historical Society.
Christmas Prelude Tree Lighting in Dock Square – Friday Nov 30, 5:30
The Dock Square Tree lighting is the quintessential kick off to Christmas Prelude in Kennebunkport. Dock Square fills with revelers, small to tall, for caroling with the Kennebunk High School Choir, and the old-home-town countdown to tree lighting. It’s like Who Ville in Maine, with no scrooges in sight. Head for drinks at Alisson’s or Boathouse Waterfront Bar immediately thereafter – it’s a big night for this small seaside town.
Prelude Block Party at Old Vines, Nov 29- Dec 2 and Dec 6 & 7
A Blck Party at Old Vines Wine Bar Chalet and Outdoor Barbeque with live music, drink special and holiday shopping. See also Wednesday Dec 5 KBA Prelude Benefit with Ocean Ave Band 5-9pm for $50 tickets.
Prelude Boat Rides aboard Nor’Easter from Nonantum – Saturday Dec 1, Sunday Dec 2, Saturday & Sunday Dec 8-9, 10am-4pm
Board this working Maine fishing boat from the Pilot House or The Nonantum Resort, and enjoy a cruise – along the Kennebunk River enjoying the holiday décor. Tickets are $10, good all day, and benefit Maine Maritime Academy.
29th Annual Holiday Craft Fair at the Senior Center– Saturday Dec 1, 9-2
Maine crafts people sell wreaths, boughs, trees and centerpieces for your Christmas holiday décor.
13th Annual Hat Parade – Saturday Dec 1, 3pm
For over a decade, a parade proceeds thru Dock Square of decadent, ridiculous, Christmassy themed hats led by the Patriot Fife & Drum Duo. Prizes are award to kids and silly adults for the best decorated and themed hats.
Candlelight Caroling at the Franciscan Monastery – Saturday, Dec 1, 6:30pm
The first Saturday of Prelude is a beautiful solemn scene of singing and remembrance of the true spirit of the Christmas holiday by led the Franciscan monks at St Anthony’s Monastery, sponsored by the White Barn Inn.
Breakfast with Mrs. Claus Sunday, Dec 2, 8-11am Santa gets all the credit, but Mrs Claus and her elves host a lovely breakfast buffet for the kids and parents at The Nonantum Resort. Enjoy a fabulous buffet with friends from the North Pole, and get a photo with St Nick’s wife.
Santa Arrive by Lobster Boat – Sunday, Dec 2, 2pm
See Santa arrive in Dock Square, in style, in a Lobster Boat after he comes down the Kennebunk River with his elves and favorite Christmas crustaceans.
Candlelight Tours of the Historic Inns of Kennebunkport – Tuesday, Dec 4, 4-6pm Visit the beautiful Captain Lord Mansion, Captain Jefferds Inn, Maine Stay Inn, 1802 House, and Inn at English Meadows, to see their splendid holiday decorations. $5 donation benefits the local food pantry.
Passport to Prelude Village Art Walk – Friday, Dec 7, 5-7pm
Get your passport stamped as you visit local art galleries on the Village Art Walk ending at Chris Becker Photography on Ocean Ave, then enjoy cocktails at Stripers Waterside Restaurants at the Breakwater Inn.
Boathouse White Hot DJ Dance Party – Friday, Dec 7, 7-11pm. Dress in white and party all night to a DJ, Tickets are $20 for light bites and admission, cash bar. Boathouse Waterfront Hotel and Bar
9th annual Fire and Ice at Nonantum – Friday & Saturday, Dec 7 & 8 , 5-10pm
Nonantum Resort on the Kennebunk River hosts the”coolest party” for Prelude with outdoor bonfires, ice carving and ice bars serving drinks, food and music. Dress warm and chill by the riverside. Tickets are $50. This event sells out – both nights.
Christmas Prelude Fireworks – Friday – Dec 7, 6:15pm
Christmas Prelude Fireworks over the Cove light up the sky following the 5:30 Tree Lighting in Dock Square. Best viewed from Boathouse Waterfront Hotel and Bar or Kennebunkport Inn’s Deck Party starting at 6pm.
Annual Prelude Pooch Parade – Sunday, Dec 9, 11am
Slugger the Sea Dog leads a bunch of lucky local dogs and their proud owners in this annual Prelude Pooch Parade down Ocean Ave through Dock Square in Christmas costumes. Refreshments and pet treats for sale at the After-Paw’ty (get it?!).
Whatever your favorite Christmas Prelude events, be #shore to make a weekend or midweek stay out of your time in Kennebunkport – to shop, sip cocktails, stroll Dock Square, visit the beach and be merry. See our Kennebunkport Maine hotels for Prelude lodging, and our favorite places to dine in Kennebunk.
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