From Christmas wreath sales to parades and tree lightings, community members around the Seacoast are gearing up for the holidays. Here’s a list of events and efforts around the Seacoast. If you’d like your event included, please send a press release and a photo if possible to [email protected] and we’ll keep updating this list throughout the holiday season.
Holiday Magic Show at the Players Ring
PORTSMOUTH — The Players’ Ring continues one of New Hampshire’s most popular holiday traditions, Discovering Magic with Andrew Pinard, a dazzling performance featuring comedy, con games, sleight of hand, and more, over Thanksgiving weekend, from Nov. 26 to 28, at its Prescott Park home, 105 Marcy St., Portsmouth.
For tickets, visit www.playersring.org or email [email protected]. General admission tickets are $25 ($22 for seniors and students) for performances at 2:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. on Sunday.
Tree lighting open house
KENNEBUNK, Maine — Visit the Brick Store Museum for a tree lighting open house, on Nov. 27 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., at 117 Main St., Kennebunk. Free admission all day to the Museum to explore current exhibits and the expanded Holiday Showcase featuring local artists. Supported by H.M. Payson. Free admission. For more information call 207-985-4802 or visit www.brickstoremuseum.org.
Rollinsford/South Berwick holiday parade
ROLLINSFORD —The Rollinsford/South Berwick Holiday Parade will be held Nov. 27 at 3 p.m.
23rd annual Festival of Trees
EXETER — This year, the Exeter Town Hall doors will be open Dec. 1 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Dec. 2, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the 23rd annual Festival of Trees (FOT) event. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, all visitors are being asked to wear masks inside the hall, a limited number of people will be allowed entry at a time, and hand sanitizer will be made available.
23rd annual Festival of Trees
EXETER — This year, the Exeter Town Hall doors will be open on Dec. 2, from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. for the 23rd annual Festival of Trees (FOT) event. Due to Covid restrictions, all visitors are being asked to wear masks inside the hall, a limited number of people will be allowed entry at a time, and hand sanitizer will be made available.
Santa comes to Exeter
EXETER — Santa and his helpers are taking over Front Street in Exeter on Thursday, Dec. 2 from 4 to 8 p.m. for a festive celebration. Santa arrives promptly at 5 p.m. so don’t be late. Come enjoy a free night of music, train rides, lights, hot cocoa, singalongs and more.
Rochester Chamber annual Tree Lighting
ROCHESTER — The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce is pleased to light up the season with the annual Holiday Tree Lighting. The Tree Lighting Ceremony will be held on Friday, Dec. 3 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Central Square in downtown Rochester.
A program of family activities will also take place as part of the Holiday Tree Lighting. Those in attendance will enjoy the reading of ‘The Night Before Christmas’. In addition, a number of activities will take place including dance performances and caroling will be conducted by Studio 109 Dance, Voice & Drama, cookies and hot chocolate, a very special visit from Santa Claus, and more.
Rochester Main Street Festival of Trees
ROCHESTER — The volunteers of Rochester Main Street are pleased to announce the return of the Festival of Trees. The annual Festival of Trees will be held on Dec. 3, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and Dec. 4, from 4 to 8 p.m. in the greenhouse at Studley’s Flower Gardens, 82 Wakefield St. This festive event offers the public an opportunity to win dozens of wonderfully decorated trees donated by area businesses and organizations. The trees often include valuable gifts in addition to beautiful decorations.
Friday’s portion follows the downtown tree lighting at Central Square and includes holiday music. Friday’s guests can be among the first to view the gorgeous trees while getting the first chance to enter raffles. Saturday’s portion also includes holiday music and will have a visit from Santa 5 to 7 p.m.
Admission to the Festival is just $5 each day and includes five raffle tickets for the drawings. Children enter free. Additional raffle tickets are also available for purchase to increase chances of winning.
All drawings are pulled Saturday at 7 p.m. Winners do not need to be present to win. If not present, winners will receive a phone call and must respond. Winners can collect the winnings after the event concludes Saturday or on Sunday, Dec. 8 during the hours 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. Unclaimed trees and gifts by 1 p.m. Sunday will be forfeited.
Main Street is still looking for businesses and organizations to decorate trees. A signup form is available at www.rochestermainstreet.org/events.
Dover’s Festival of Trees
DOVER – The 12th annual Dover Festival of Trees will take place on Friday, Dec. 3 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Rivermill at Dover Landing. The event is free and open to the public.
The event will feature more than 35 elaborate trees sponsored and decorated by local businesses, all available to be taken home through silent and live auction or raffle drawing. The event also includes live choir performances, refreshments, free goodie bags for kids and a visit from Santa. The main attraction will be the Raffle Tree, which will be fully decorated with hundreds of dollars in gift cards to local restaurants and retailers. Tickets for the raffle tree will be $5 each, or five for $20.
Trees are still available for sponsorship by local businesses and organizations. Sponsorship is $55 for Chamber members and $75 for non-members. Sponsorship includes the tree and tree stand. The sponsor is responsible for providing all decorations and promotional items for the tree. Organizations interested in sponsorship should reach out to Community Events Manager Morgan Faustino at [email protected] or call (603) 742-2218.
The Festival of Trees is a fundraiser that benefits the Dover Chamber’s City Lights Committee, a volunteer group of residents and Chamber members dedicated to illuminating downtown Dover during the holiday season and hanging American flags on Central Avenue during the summer months. For more information on Festival of Trees, contact the Greater Dover Chamber of Commerce at (603) 742-2218 or visit www.dovernh.org/fot.
Button Factory hosts 35th Open Studios holiday arts event Dec. 3 to 5
PORTSMOUTH — The Button Factory Open Studios,will be held with the preview showcasing Button Factory tenants only on Friday night, Dec. 3, from 5 to 8 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 4 and 5, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. when visiting guest artist will be hosted inside some studios at 855 Islington St., Portsmouth.
Open Studios is a once-a-year opportunity to explore their private studios and discover each artist’s creative vision and unique process. Take advantage of the opportunity to purchase original, one-of-a-kind, handmade work. These artists and craftsmen have earned prominence and awards in their fields: painting, photography, printmaking, jewelry, fiber arts, floor cloths, pottery, sculpture, stained glass, handcrafted furniture, custom picture framing, and more. No admission fee.
The Button Factory is located across from Plaza 800, the Hannaford Supermarket, Bank of America, and the COAST bus stop. Visit the website www.buttonfactorystudios.com. for directions and the roster of the resident artists. Follow us on Facebook, Button Factory Studios, and on Instagram, buttonfactorystudios.
Somersworth-Berwick Christmas Parade
SOMERSWORTH — Saturday, Dec. 4 will see the return of the Somersworth-Berwick Christmas Parade. The theme for this year’s parade will be “Joy to the World.” This year the parade will start at 1:30 p.m.
Exeter Holiday Parade
EXETER — Mark your calendar for Saturday, Dec. 4 for the 2021 Exeter Holiday Parade. Unlike the pandemic-necessitated drive-thru parade held in 2020, plans call for Santa Claus to come back to town in his usual fashion. The parade will step off from Osram on Portsmouth Avenue at 5:30 p.m. and wind its way to High Street, passing the Bandstand on Water Street before dispersing along Swasey Parkway. Awards for various parade units will be given out in front of the Bandstand. The 2021 theme for the Holiday Parade is “Celebrate”.
Jingle All The Way 5K
PORTSMOUTH — The Jingle All The Way 5K will take place at Cisco Brewers in Portsmouth. After the race, runners and walkers gather for a post race party with live music, entertainment, food and drinks. The race benefits the Greg Hill Foundation, whose mission is to support local families who have incurred a recent tragedy. All proceeds will benefit the family of late State Trooper Jesse Sherrill. Register online at https://runsignup.com/Race/Register/?raceId=81882.
Portsmouth annual Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting
PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth’s annual Holiday Parade, Tree Lighting and Food Drive is back Saturday, Dec. 4. At 5:30 p.m., Tree Lighting in Market Square; 6 p.m. Parade step off from Islington Street; 4 to 7 p.m. Non-perishable food drop off at Market Square parade platform. Spectators, please note that there will be a parking ban in downtown on parade night. Rain date: Sunday, Dec. 5, same times.
Annual Kittery Holiday Parade
KITTERY, Maine — The annual Kittery Holiday Parade will take place on Saturday, Dec. 4. The theme for this year’s parade is “Celebrating Our History- Kittery’s 375th Anniversary”. The parade will step off from Post Office Square at 3 p.m. and conclude at John Paul Jones Park with the tree lighting. The parade is being sponsored by the Kiwanis Club of The Seacoast.
Businesses, youth groups, community organizations, and individuals/families are encouraged to enter a float, decorated vehicle or marching group in the parade. To register for the parade, go to www.seacoastkiwanis.com. If you have questions about the parade, contact Frank Dennett at 207-475-2063 or send an e-mail to [email protected].
‘It’s a Jazzy Holiday’ concert at St. Thomas Episcopal Church
St Thomas’ Episcopal Church “Concerts in the Castle” presents “It’s a Jazzy Holiday!” featuring The Fourth Street Jazz Choir, conducted by Wendell S Purrington and accompanied by pianist, Kathy Fink, and drummer, Mark Adams on Saturday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. at St Thomas Episcopal Church on the corner of Locust Street and Hale Street in downtown Dover.
This holiday concert will feature jazzy renditions of holiday favorites such as White Christmas, Carol of the Bells, Snow, and Feliz Navidad as well as some terrific solos and duets. Suggested donation is $12 for adults and $10 for seniors and students, and will be accepted at the door. Masks are required for all who attend.
Dec. 4 to 19
For the second year, Strawbery Banke presents “Candlelight Stroll Under the Stars,” the Museum’s signature all outdoor holiday event focusing on the lights, wreaths, roleplayers, and magic on the exteriors of the Museum’s historic buildings. The event, which occurs on Dec. 4, 11, and 18, from 5 to 9 p.m. and Dec. 5, 12, and 19, from 4 to 8 p.m. throughout the 10-acre site, offers guests the opportunity to experience holiday and seasonal traditions from years past in the historic Puddle Dock neighborhood. Tickets on sale now at StrawberyBanke.org/events/candlelight-stroll.cfm. Masks will be required, regardless of vaccination status.
Rochester annual Holiday Parade
ROCHESTER — The Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual holiday parade with the theme this year of “A Comic Book Christmas” on Sunday, Dec. 5, beginning at 3 p.m. The parade plans to feature an array of floats from businesses, organizations, and youth organizations as well as high school marching bands, marching units, equestrians and more.
The parade route will begin on Wakefield Street by the triangle at the entrance to the Spaulding High School. It will proceed south on Wakefield Street, turn right onto Union Street, turn left onto North Main Street, to South Main Street, and disband in front of the Rochester Common.
Dover Rotary Holiday Decorations Contest
DOVER — Dover Rotarian elves will be visiting decorated homes in Dover on Dec. 13 and Dec. 14, looking for winners in their second Annual Rotary Club of Dover Holiday Decorations Contest. Deadline to enter: Dec. 6. To enter visit facebook.com/Rotary-Club-of-Dover-Holiday-Decorations-Contest or email [email protected]. Winners will be chosen on Dec. 15.
According to Dover Rotary President-elect Jim Munro, the contest was created as a “Fun”raiser event. “We wanted to celebrate the efforts of our neighbors who turn their homes into whimsical scenes during the holidays and create moments of joy for all ages,” Munro said.
The no-fee contest will celebrate community spirit and focus on the festive exterior decorations on homes in Dover. 1st Place: Fruit gift basket and $75 gift certificate from Harvey’s Bakery; 2nd Place: Fruit gift basket and $50 gift certificate from Harvey’s Bakery and 3rd Place: Fruit gift basket and $25 gift certificate from Harvey’s Bakery. Winners will also receive a “winner” sign for your front lawn and bragging rights.
Wells 36th annual Christmas parade
WELLS, Maine — The Wells Chamber of Commerce is pleased to announce the 36th Annual Christmas Parade scheduled for Sunday, Dec. 12. The parade steps off at 2 p.m. from the Wells Plaza and proceeds north on Route 1 to the Wells Junior High School. Families, youth groups, civic groups, businesses and individuals can join. No charge to participate. For more information on the parade, contact the Wells Chamber of Commerce at 207-646-2451 or on the web at www.wellschristmasparade.com.
Rochester Main Street ‘Elf Off the Shelf’
ROCHESTER — The volunteers of Rochester Main Street have announced the return of Elf Off the Shelf on Dec. 18, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There are 12 elves hiding around downtown; look high and low to find them all! Each elf will give you a ticket and a treat. Once you receive all your tickets, visit Collec-tiques on North Main Street to enter them into the raffle. The more tickets you have, the better your chances become to win the Grand Prize! Visit www.RochesterMainStreet.org to learn more.
This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Get ready, set, celebrate: Holiday events around the Seacoast