Best Holiday Festivals in Midcoast Maine

Once the temperatures start cooling and the leaves drop, a look at the calendar confirms what Mother Nature has been telling us.  Here comes the holiday season! We present our holiday round-up to guide you to the best holiday festivals in midcoast Maine.

Maine is known for its picturesque seaside towns and villages. But wait until you see them all decked out for the holidays — picture old-fashioned Christmas celebrations bolstered by tradition, full of twinkling lights, and maybe a dusting of snow.

As with most things, what’s traditional to us Mainers may be fascinatingly new and different for you. Have you ever seen Santa arriving by boat at a pier? Or lobster traps stacked and decorated to resemble a Christmas tree? Once you have seen it, you will never forget it. Come celebrate the holidays with us!

The Captain Nickels Inn, located in scenic Searsport, ME, becomes the hub of holiday festivals in midcoast Maine. Relax in cliffside elegance, and select your holiday adventures from the many choices available. With dozens of downtown shops just an easy drive from the Inn, holiday shopping is a breeze. Or, just relax and enjoy a glass of wine in our elegantly decorated parlor and sitting rooms.

Rockland’s Festival of Lights 

Weekend following Thanksgiving, November 25-27, 2022
Downtown Rockland

The annual Festival of Lights begins at noon the Friday after Thanksgiving, with Santa Claus arriving at Rockland Harbor via Coast Guard boat. Landing at Middle Pier in Buoy Park, he then leads kids and kids-at-heart to Mildred Merrill Park near the lobster pot tree. Join the tree lighting at 6 pm and stay for the Festival of Lights Parade.

Visit the decorated shops downtown, keeping warm with hot cocoa or warm apple cider.

Rockland, ME is just under an hour’s drive south of Captain Nickels Inn, with many fun attractions. Learn more about this and other events in Rockland on the Rockland Main Street Facebook page.

Camden’s Christmas By the Sea 

December 2 – 4, 2022
Downtown Camden

Celebrated for more than 30 years, Christmas by the Sea  is a multi-day festival. Events include a tree-lighting in Harbor Park, carolers, and holiday music, carriage rides, craft fairs, and so much more.  Santa arrives by lobster boat in Camden Harbor. At just over a 30-minute drive from our Maine bed and breakfast inn, visiting picturesque downtown Camden will surely make you feel like you’re inside a living Christmas snow globe.

Waterville’s Nutcracker Ballet and Kringleville

Nutcracker Ballet
December 10 -12, 2022
Waterville Opera House, 1 Common St, Waterville

Parade of Lights and Kringleville
Day after Thanksgiving, November 25, 2022 at 6pm
Main St, Waterville

The timeless tale of toy soldiers and dancing mice is one of the season’s most beloved entertainments. Can it truly be Christmas without attending a production of Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker? Luckily for us, the Bossov Ballet Theatre is returning to the Waterville Opera House this December with its fantastic version of this traditional holiday classic.

Another Waterville annual celebration starts with a parade the day after Thanksgiving. Witness dozens of floats that bring Santa and Mrs. Claus to their holiday home of Kringleville. This tradition of a log cabin housing Santa during the season began in 1969. Returning in 2022, it will be an in-person event, so expect a mini ice rink in front of the cabin and many arctic creatures outside.

Located just under an hour west of Captain Nickels Inn, both Kringleville and the Waterville Opera House are fun visits in and of themselves. Visit the Waterville Opera House for tickets, times, and more information.

Belfast’s Holiday on the Harbor

December 10, 2022, 10am – 2pm
Steamboat Landing Park, Belfast

Santa returns to Belfast’s Steamboat Landing Park this December for Holiday on the Harbor 2022. The event includes horse-drawn wagon rides, live carolers, fun activities for the kids, hot chocolate, and more. Depending on the weather, it will take place in the Boathouse or along the Belfast Harborwalk.

The arrival of Santa is not the only event in Belfast. The annual tree lighting happens on December 3, at 4:30 pm, kicking off sales in all of the downtown stores. Pick up a local passport, and visit local businesses for a chance for a prize (not to mention super savings).

On December 18, Belfast celebrates Hanukkah with the Lighting of the Menorah at sundown (4:00 pm) with music and readings. The menorah will remain lit throughout Hanukkah.

Just ten minutes down the road from Captain Nickels Inn, Belfast is one of our very favorite midcoast Maine towns!  Loaded with fun things to see and do, it’s a special treat to see it all decorated for the holidays.

The best holiday festivals in midcoast Maine happen all around us, and our Searsport inn is at the center of it all. Come experience the holidays with us here at Captain Nickels Inn. We can’t wait to decorate for the season and share the holidays with you!

Published: October 2022