Shelly Wilson sets up Whipper’s Pizza’s tree Tuesday at the River of Trees display at the Augusta Teen Center. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

AUGUSTA — With the Thanksgiving Day leftovers stored, attention across central Maine now turns to a slate of winter celebrations and holidays.

Starting Friday, lights, trees, parades and songs take center stage as the final holiday season of the year approaches.

The annual tree-lighting ceremony in Augusta at Market Square on Water Street returns to Saturday this year, and it will be a live event only.

“In the last few years because of COVID-19, we’ve done a virtual tree lighting on Friday, but we’re back to a Saturday event all afternoon-long on Saturday,” Bruce Chase, the Augusta parks and recreation director.

Leading up to the tree-lighting, Santa will tour the city starting at 12:30 p.m., at the Buker Community Center at 22 Armory St., and traveling through the city’s neighborhoods on both sides of the Kennebec River, ending up at Williams Park at 59 Bangor St. The map is available on the Augusta Park and Recreation Department’s Facebook page and on the city of Augusta’s website.

But Augusta is not alone in celebrating the holidays. Here’s a partial roundup of events around central Maine.


Friday, Nov. 25

10 a.m. to 8 p.m., River of Trees, Augusta Teen Center, 244 Water St. Continues 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. More than 50 decorated trees donated by local businesses are raffled to support the Augusta Boys & Girls Club Teen Center and the Augusta Downtown Alliance.

Saturday, Nov. 26

All day: Gingerbread Village Contest, Water Street, Augusta. With a Gingerbread Man scavenger hunt at Water Street businesses and a Gingerbread Christmas Story Walk on Water Street

10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Christmas at the Fort, Old Fort Western, 16 Cony St., Augusta, with miniature ponies, Father Christmas and homemade gingerbread.

2 p.m. to 4 p.m., horse-drawn wagon rides, Water Street, Augusta.


4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Monmouth Community Tree Lighting, Monmouth Museum 758 Main St. Lighting ceremony starts at 4:45 p.m. Holiday music, cookies and cocoa, and meet Santa.

Working in a cherry picker high above Market Square, Augusta city employee Robert Emerson strings lights on the city’s holiday tree Tuesday in downtown Augusta. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

5 p.m., holiday tree-lighting ceremony, Market Square, Water Street, Augusta, followed by fireworks in downtown Augusta.

5:30 p.m., Winter Wonderland Tree Lighting, Augusta West, 183 Holmes Brook Lane, Winthrop. Drive-thru lighting display. Tickets required.

6 p.m., The Parade of Lights in Winslow-Waterville. Parade departs Winslow Senior High School, proceeds down Benton Avenue, crosses the Ticonic Bridge into Waterville and then heads onto Main Street in Waterville.

Sunday, Nov. 27

1 p.m. to 4 p.m., Kringleville, the mini holiday house and village in Waterville where children can meet Santa Claus, opens at Head of Falls, off Front Street. It will be open at those hours every Saturday and Sunday until Christmas.


Friday, Dec. 2 

4 p.m. to 8 p.m., Johnson Hall Presents: The 5th Annual Festival of Trees, Life Community Church, 46 Church St., Gardiner. Visitors are welcome to bid on more than 35 decorated trees sponsored by local businesses. Because of the construction at Johnson Hall, the event is in an alternate location. Proceeds benefit Johnson Hall. Continues Saturday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

5 p.m., downtown Gardiner tree lighting, Dearborn Park, Water Street (next to Johnson Hall).

5:30 p.m., Christmas tree lighting celebration, Richmond Waterfront Park. Horse-drawn wagon rides, photos with Santa and hot chocolate and cookies.

Saturday, Dec. 3

7 a.m. Breakfast with Santa, Monmouth Fire Department, 771 Main St., Monmouth. Tickets required.


9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Wayne Holiday Stroll, Main St., Wayne. Continues Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Local businesses are hosting artisans and crafters. Horse-drawn wagon rides on Saturday, Santa Claus and caroling around the tree in Memorial Park on Sunday.

3:30 p.m., Winthrop Holiday Parade, Main Street, Winthrop. Rain/snow date is Sunday, Dec. 4.

4:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m., Parade of Lights, Water Street from Winter Street to Waterfront Park, Gardiner.

Saturday, Dec. 10

MaineGeneral Hospice Celebration of Lights, Gardiner Common. Luminaries lit in memory of lost loved ones.

Sunday, Dec. 11


2 p.m. to 4 p.m., A Motown Christmas with Pat Colwell and the Soul Sensations, Hallowell City Hall, 1 Winthrop St., Hallowell. Tickets required.

Saturday, Dec. 17 

Wreaths Across America, various times, various communities. Volunteers will place wreaths on the graves of veterans and wreaths honoring each military service branch as well as POWs/MIAs.

Sunday, Dec. 18 

11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Latke Party, Goldfinch Creamery, 318 Water St., Gardiner. A Gardiner tradition of sharing a traditional Jewish holiday dish.

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