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Holiday Happenings near Camden, Maine

As a Christmas junkie, I look forward to the holiday happenings near Camden, Maine. Boothbay, Rockland, Camden, and Rockport all have entire weekends devoted to holiday activities. Then, there are all the midweek activities to get you through to the next weekend. It requires serious planning to get in all of the Midcoast Maine Christmas and holiday celebrations!

Updated November 2, 2020 for the impact of COVID-19 on these events.

The Holiday Event to Kick Off the Season


The first holiday event starts the weekend before Thanksgiving. In year 1 through 5 of this event, the Coastal Botanical Garden staff decorated the central gardens and building for Gardens Aglow. Due to COVID-19, this year’s Gardens Aglow will be a driving tour. Boothbay is about an hour away from Camden. This event is well worth the trip.  The Gardens Aglow gets bigger and better each year!  Read our blog post to learn about the 2015 Gardens Aglow. In 2020, Gardens Aglow will be open November 21 through January 2, 2021.  Tickets for a specific date and time must be purchased in advance.  For more information see Gardens Algow Frequently Asked Questions.

Some of the Boothbay Lights events have been cancelled due to COVID-19. However, one can still enjoy The Gingerbread Spectacular and/or the Lighted Boat Parade and Sparkle Fireworks to get into the holiday spirit.

Archway with Christmas lights at Gardens Aglow

Holiday Happenings Near Camden, Maine

Rockland Festival of Lights

Rockland’s Festival of Lights is the next holiday happening. It is always the weekend after Thanksgiving. The festival will be altered this year due to COVID-19 restrictions but still look for some familiar holiday happenings.

holiday happenings near Camden, Maine Lobster trap Christmas tree

Friday evening begins with the lighting of the Lobster Trap Christmas Tree.

The Festival of Lights continues on Saturday with a downtown fun holiday scavenger hunt and decorations.

The following events have been cancelled this year, but we hope to see them back in 2021.

  • Breakfast with Santa
  • The Farnsworth’s Share the Wonder – an annual family holiday celebration with model trains, music, and prizes
  • Festival of Trees at the Public Library
  • Tour of the Historic Inns of Rockland
  • The Parade.

The Festival of Lights parade is a wonderful community event. After the parade ends, each viewer can vote for the People’s Choice Float with a non-perishable food item or a toy. The donations go to the Salvation Army for Rockland families.

Camden Christmas by the Sea

Camden’s Christmas by the Sea festival is the first weekend in December. Events occur Friday, December 4, 2020 through Sunday, December 6, 2020.

Returning this year, Guini Ridge in Rockport will do a Christmas Market in the spirit of a traditional European Christmas market with local artisan’s wares for sale. Come celebrate the holiday season and pickup your trees, wreaths, garland and more!  Other events are being completely reimagined. The parade will happen in “reverse” this year.  The “floats” (displays) will remain stationary and parade goers will walk past.  There will be downtown music and a Kringle Jingle Scavenger Hunt.  One can find the complete list of events and details as they become available on the Camden Christmas by the Sea Facebook page.

For a detailed account of a previous Christmas by the Sea weekend, read our blog.

Santa arriving by float in Christmas by the Sea parade

Camden Opera House

The Camden Opera House is a beautiful venue in the center of downtown Camden. There is not a bad seat in the house. The Camden Opera House has done an amazing job of pivoting in this environment. Still bringing live shows to small audiences:  assigned seating, socially distanced, masks required, 45 minutes show for low ticket prices.

Check out their calendar to see concerts and shows are playing during the holiday season.

Lunasa Irish music band

In previous years, Lúnasa and special guest Ashley Davis were at the opera house to weave music, spoken word and more, taking concertgoers back to the band’s Irish homeland.

Rockport’s Holiday on the Harbor – Status unknown at the time of this update

Spend the afternoon of the second Saturday in December listening to concerts at the Rockport Opera House. Then head down the hill to Rockport Marine Park. Enjoy some of the 2000 luminaria throughout the village lighting the path to the harbor.


Wait for the Harbor Master to cross the harbor to set off the fireworks.

Harbor master boat with lighted Christmas tree


I like fireworks as much as parades and holiday festivals. These are quite special.

Fireworks over Rockport Harbor in December

For more details on Rockport’s Holiday on the Harbor, click here.

Lodging for holiday happenings near Camden, Maine

Hawthorn Inn's Christmas tree

A number of the holiday events near Camden, Maine, have been cancelled.  However, you still deserve a holiday break and probably need someplace to stay.  Consider making the Hawthorn Inn your escape from the every day, do some holiday shopping and catch one of the events that will still occur . Check out our Promotions page to find current specials to enhance the festivities.

May you have a truly blessed and happy holiday season!  Let’s hope that all of our special holiday festivals can return safely in 2021!

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