Camden, Maine celebrates Christmas by the Sea on the first weekend in December. It is a family-friendly event that puts one in the mood for Christmas. Some events happen year after year. Periodically, the organizers add new events. Click here for the 2016 schedule. The annual recurring events include
- Community Christmas parade
- Arrival of Santa
- a tree lighting in Harbor Park
- Craft fairs
- Tree lighting and bonfire at Lincolnville Beach
- Atlantic Ballet Company’s production of the Nutcracker
- A Walk Through Bethlehem
So it Begins
This will be our third Christmas by the Sea in Camden. I am so looking forward to it. It is the perfect way to get into the holiday spirit. Opening ceremonies are in the Library. The very talented Camden Hills Regional High School choral and instrumental groups perform holiday selections. The parade up Main Street follows the opening ceremonies. It is truly magical to watch children’s faces light up as they watch the parade and await Santa. Community groups make floats and ride on them in the parade.
As with all holiday parades, Santa is the last to arrive. Then Santa leads another “parade” to the Christmas tree in Harbor Park for the annual tree lighting.
The community gathers around the Christmas tree in Harbor Park and sings Christmas carols as the the lights up. It is quite the sight. Gazing out at the harbor, the schooner masts are lit up. Look in the other direction and one sees the star on the top of Mount Battie. I imagine that it must be wonderful to grow up in Camden and attend this event every year. The community and holiday spirit is contagious.
Recurring Christmas by the Sea Events
There are so many activities occurring in Rockport, Camden and Lincolnville during the weekend, that it is impossible to make it to all of them. One has the opportunity to see the arrival of Santa, three different times. There are multiple holiday fairs. It is very difficult to select which events to attend. One has to strategically plan. There is something for everyone. We have not made it to all of the recurring events yet. My two favorites are the handbell concert and A Walk Through Bethlehem.
2016 is the 11th annual Christmas by the Sea handbell concert. Four handbell choirs of all ages participate in the concert, Choral Bells, Joyful Bells, Penobscot Bay Ringers and Pine Tree Academy Bell Ringers. The Pine Tree Academy Bell Ringers are young musicians ranging from 8th to 12th grade from Freeport, ME. The other handbell choir musicians are adults from two area churches and a community choir. The concert includes a brief demonstration of various techniques and background for attendees that are not familiar with the music. It is fascinating to watch the different ringing techniques and hear the range of sound that can be produced by any one bell. The combination of all of the bells is the sound of Christmas to me. If you want a good seat, you need to get there early.
A Walk Through Bethlehem
Regardless of your religious beliefs, A Walk through Bethlehem is an event not to be missed! One experiences the First Christmas while strolling through Bethlehem as it might have been the night of Jesus’ birth. 80 costumed cast members transform the Chestnut Street Baptist Church into a market place in the city of Bethlehem. Each of the cast members tells about their role.
Come and Stay
So what are you waiting for? Make plans to attend the Camden Christmas by the Sea December 2, 3, and 4, 2016. Stay within walking distance to the activities. Hawthorn Inn is located adjacent to the Camden Amphitheater and just across from Harbor Park. Select one of our comfy rooms and the December Holiday Package.