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Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Christmas and Holiday Events in Ogunquit, Maine

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Aubree Norman
Aubree Normanhttps://mainelocalnews.net
Aubree is a journalist for Maine Local News.Β  Aubree focuses on local Maine news and current events.

Ogunquit, Maine, turns into a magical winter paradise every holiday season. It’s a small town, home to about 1,500 people year-round, but during the holidays, it shines. Less than an hour drive south from Portland, this beautiful coastal place ranks as the No. 2 “Best Christmas Town in the U.S.,” according to Travel + Leisure. The town’s pride is the Christmas by the Sea event, a favorite tradition since the 1980s.

Ogunquit covers four square miles and is full of holiday excitement. The Christmas by the Sea festival, organized by the local Chamber of Commerce, lasts for three days. It happens on the second full weekend of December. It includes tree lightings, concerts, crafts, children’s fun, a parade, a bonfire, and even fireworks.

Since the festival is so popular, places to stay in Ogunquit fill up fast. It’s best to plan ahead. Whether you like cozy inns or larger resorts by the sea, there’s something for everyone. The town’s welcoming vibe makes it perfect for a holiday stay.

For the latest information on the Christmas by the Sea event, check out the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce’s website at ogunquit.org/our-events.

Christmas by the Sea Festival

Ogunquit, Maine, shines as one of the best Christmas towns in America. It lights up beautifully during the Christmas by the Sea Festival. This seaside celebration fills the town with festive spirit. It’s perfect for both locals and visitors. The festival started in the 1980s. It shows off Ogunquit’s welcoming community and its love for art.

christmas by the sea festival

Overview of the Event

Now in its 37th year, the Christmas by the Sea Festival has a lot of fun activities. You can enjoy a bell choir concert and warm bonfires. The Southern Maine Christmas Parade is a major highlight. Village Food Market and Spoiled Rotten Ogunquit sponsor the event. They offer many food samples, like clam chowder, and drinks. This event lasts a whole weekend. It strengthens community ties.

  • Concerts and children’s activities
  • A parade and sea-side bonfire
  • Fireworks display
  • Opportunity to visit Santa Claus
  • Giving Tree Silent Auction featuring local donations
  • Polar Plunge charity event benefiting Toys for Tots
  • Holiday markets with handcrafted gifts and souvenirs

Dates and Schedule

The Ogunquit holiday events happen on the second weekend of December. The aim is to spread the holiday spirit. The fun starts on Friday night with tree lighting. It continues all weekend long.

From Friday to Sunday, there’s no shortage of things to do. Saturday features the Southern Maine Christmas Parade and local concerts. Sunday ends with cozy bonfires and amazing fireworks over the sea.

Event Day Details
Tree Lighting Friday Evening ceremony to kick off the holiday celebration
Southern Maine Christmas Parade Saturday Floats and festivities along Main Street
Craft Fairs and Markets Weekend Handcrafted gifts and souvenirs from local artisans
Santa Claus Visit Weekend Available throughout the festival
Fireworks Sunday A spectacular show closing the festival

People come from all over to join in. They stay at charming inns like The Seacastles Resort, The Norseman Resort, and Auberge on the Cove. Beachmere Inn is especially close to the action. In all, the Christmas by the Sea Festival brings unforgettable holiday spirit to everyone.

A Perfect Main Street Christmas

Ogunquit, Maine, turns into a magical place during Christmas. It becomes a winter wonderland. Travel + Leisure magazine ranks it among the top 25 Christmas towns. The town lights up with holiday shopping, live shows, and parades that spread cheer.

Parades and Performances

The Christmas by the Sea Festival is a big deal here. It happens on the second weekend in December. The Ogunquit Christmas Parade is from 3-4 pm on Saturday, featuring bands, floats, and Santa Claus. Shows like a John Denver Christmas tribute and A Christmas Carol play at local venues. For more info, visit the official schedule.

Holiday Shopping on Main Street

Holiday shopping focuses on Main Street Ogunquit. On December 9th, you can find local crafts at three fairs. December 10th features a Holiday Makers Market with over 25 artists. Warm welcomes await at the Lady Mary Inn and Ogunquit Heritage Museum. Adding to the holiday spirit are Santa visits, story-telling, and crafts. Exploring this offers a unique experience of finding special gifts from more than 15 top artists.

Main Street Ogunquit

Main Street turns into a scene from a Charles Dickens story. Places like Mornings in Paris offer hot chocolate from 3-7 pm. With shops, art galleries, and cozy cafes, Main Street has something for everyone this Christmas.

Candlelight Walk and Caroling

The candlelight walk and caroling in Christmas in Ogunquit, Maine is magical. Locals and visitors alike join a festive march. Organized by the Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce, it enhances the holiday spirit beautifully.

The celebration starts after an evening tree lighting. The Ogunquit Carolers sing joyful tunes. Holding candles, participants add a soft glow to Main Street. It makes for great evening fun and celebrates Christmas in one of America’s top towns.

candlelight walk

Walking, we see shops and galleries decked out for the holidays. Their unique decorations and gifts add to the town’s Christmas charm. This event highlights Ogunquit’s holiday season beautifully.

The candlelight event is part of Ogunquit’s Christmas by the Sea on the second December weekend. It includes a walk in Perry’s Christmas Forest and the Southern Maine Christmas parade. The night ends with a live manger and a beach bonfire. It offers treats and beautiful views.

Everyone can join this tradition for free. It’s a must-do whether you’re visiting or live in Ogunquit. The walk and caroling turn an evening into a memorable coastal Christmas experience.

Event Date Location
Candlelight Walk and Caroling Second weekend of December Main Street, Ogunquit
Christmas by the Sea First weekend of December Various locations, Ogunquit

Art Galleries and Craft Fairs

The holiday season is a special time in Ogunquit, Maine. It mixes festive joy with unique art. The Christmas by the Sea Festival happens annually on the second weekend of December. It showcases local crafts and art of the coastal landscape. Named one of the top 25 towns for the holiday by Travel + Leisure, Ogunquit is known for its craft fairs and art galleries. These draw in both locals and visitors.

Christmas Craft Artisan Craft Fair

The Christmas Craft Artisan Craft Fair stands out during the festival. It offers a wide variety of holiday crafts to fit any budget. You can find everything from cute stocking stuffers to high-end art. These craft fairs are great for picking unique gifts while supporting local artists. On Saturday, December 9th, the fair spans three locations: Hutchins’, Ogunquit Fire Station, and Ogunquit Baptist Church. Each place features works by talented Ogunquit artists.

craft fairs

Local Art Galleries

Ogunquit’s art galleries give insight into the Ogunquit Art Colony’s lasting impact. They display beautiful art by Maine artists, focusing on coastal scenes. The town is filled with small shops and galleries. This makes holiday shopping enjoyable. Festival time is perfect for seeing how Ogunquit artists enrich the town’s culture. At these venues, you can find artistic treasures that show the heart of the Art Colony.

Ogunquit shines with holiday spirit beyond the fairs and galleries. The joy is everywhere, from the tree lighting to the Southern Maine Christmas parade. There’s even a cozy bonfire by Ogunquit Beach. Dive into the holiday spirit and explore the artistic wonders of Ogunquit. It’s what makes the town truly magical during the season.

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies

Ogunquit, Maine, becomes a magical winter place during the holidays. Its tree lighting ceremonies are a highlight for those who love festive vibes. The town lights up trees at Perkins Cove and in the Village. This makes Ogunquit a top spot on Maine’s coastal Christmas scene.

tree lighting ceremony in Ogunquit, Maine

The Christmas by the Sea event begins on December 8 at Rotary Park in Perkins Cove. Santa and Mrs. Claus arrive at 5:45 p.m., adding joy. The tree lights up at 6:15 p.m., shining brightly and bringing people together for the holiday.

The Lisa Bean Thurston Memorial Tree Lighting is another heartwarming event. It happens in Otisfield on December 9 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. This tree lighting honors a loved community member and spreads holiday spirit.

The Standish tree lighting is set for December 1 from 5:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. It’s an hour of festive fun. And don’t miss the Light Up Westbrook ceremony for more lights and singing at 677 Main Street, Riverbank Park.

Here’s a look at some major tree lighting ceremonies in coastal Maine in December:

Event Location Date Time
Christmas by the Sea Tree Lighting Rotary Park, Perkins Cove Dec 8 5:45 – 6:15 p.m.
Lisa Bean Thurston Memorial Tree Lighting Otisfield Dec 9 5:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Standish Annual Tree Lighting Standish, ME Dec 1 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Light Up Westbrook Riverbank Park, Westbrook Dec 1 5:30 – 6:30 p.m.
Monument Square Christmas Tree Lighting Monument Square, Portland Nov 24 4:00 p.m.

Make sure to check out these wonderful events. They offer something special, like carols and Santa on a lobster boat. Each tree lighting brings joy to people living in or visiting the area.

Holiday Culinary Events

The holiday season in Ogunquit, Maine, brings joy with its culinary events. Local chefs showcase their skills with tasty treats for everyone. At Chowderfest and Chocolatefest, visitors can enjoy the finest seasonal dishes. These events offer yummy holiday menus in a festive atmosphere.


Chowderfest is a highlight of Ogunquit’s Christmas by the Sea. It happens in December’s second weekend. Participants taste and vote on the best clam chowder made by local chefs.

The town’s restaurants compete with their top chowder recipes. These dishes show off coastal Maine’s flavors. Try creamy New England chowder or something new. Chowderfest is sure to delight everyone.



Chocolatefest is a dream for anyone who loves sweets. It’s part of the Christmas by the Sea event. Attendees taste handcrafted chocolates made by Ogunquit’s confectioners and chefs.

This fest celebrates chocolatiers’ creativity. Visitors enjoy indulgent treats with drinks. It’s a treat for all senses.

Special Menus by Local Chefs

Dining in Ogunquit during the holiday season is special. Local chefs offer menus with seasonal and festive flavors. Enjoy these meals by the fireside or outside.

Ogunquit’s eateries create a cozy, celebratory feeling with fire pits or heat lamps. It’s ideal for enjoying holiday dining. Make your visit magical with these delicious treats.

Santa’s Arrival and Children’s Activities

The arrival of Santa Claus in Ogunquit, Maine, brings joy to families and kids. This event is a big part of the Christmas by the Sea Festival’s 25th anniversary. The festival has fun activities planned for December 3-4 and 9-11.

Santa at Perkins Cove

The community warmly welcomes Santa’s arrival at Perkins Cove. This tradition sparks the holiday spirit as kids look forward to meeting Santa. His appearance starts the Christmas festivities with laughter and joy, making it a special trip for families. It sets the mood for more exciting activities ahead.

Santa in Ogunquit

Hands-on Activities for Kids

But Santa’s arrival isn’t the only fun for kids. The festival includes many activities like the Cookie Walk and Family Scavenger Hunt. Kids can also enjoy Santa’s Workshop for hands-on fun. The Gingerbread Decorating Class at Beachmere Inn lets kids decorate with festive themes. Prices range from $25 to $60 plus tax.

Here’s what kids can look forward to at the festival:

Activity Description Cost
Family Scavenger Hunt A fun-filled search for holiday treasures Free
Santa’s Workshop Interactive session with Santa and crafts Free
Cookie Walk Indulge in a variety of homemade cookies Free
Gingerbread Decorating Decorate ready-to-assemble gingerbread structures $25-$60 plus tax
Young Maine Readers Holiday Tea A cozy tea event featuring holiday stories for young readers Free

These events fill Ogunquit with holiday spirit. From meeting Santa to various children’s activities, there’s fun for everyone. The festival promises a festive and memorable family experience.

Christmas Decorations Throughout the Town

Ogunquit, Maine, becomes magical at Christmas. The town decorates from Main Street to Ogunquit Beach, showing its unique charm. Cozy lights and decorations fill every corner, creating a festive vibe.

Christmas decorations

The town lights up with festive joy. Stores and restaurants sparkle with twinkling lights and ornaments. You’ll see lobster trap Christmas trees, giving a creative twist to the usual decorations.

Tree lightings and beach bonfires are part of Ogunquit’s holiday fun. Local shops offer cider and snacks to shoppers, spreading cheer. On weekends, shops are open, offering gifts made by local artisans.

Luxury places like hotels and clubs also join in, decorating with incredible Christmas flair. The decorations, alongside the Maine coast’s beauty, make a stunning holiday scene. It attracts both locals and tourists.

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s, there are special sales. Shopkeepers offer discounts, making holiday shopping exciting. Ogunquit’s festive mood, combined with its beauty, makes it a top Christmas destination in Southern Maine.

Activity Local Venue Highlights
Tree Lighting Ceremony Downtown Ogunquit Lighting the central tree, community gathering
Craft Shows Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce Handcrafted holiday gifts, local artisans
Caroling Programs Perkins Cove Traditional holiday songs, warm refreshments
Holiday Markets Main Street Unique gifts, festive atmosphere
Sea-side Bonfire Ogunquit Beach Cozy bonfire, community bonding

The Ogunquit Beach Bonfire

The Ogunquit Beach Bonfire lights up the “Christmas by the Sea” celebration. It draws residents and visitors to Ogunquit Beach. A warm bonfire and the cool Maine air make for memorable moments.

Bonfire Details

The bonfire at Ogunquit Beach brings warmth and joy in December. It starts on the second weekend, on Friday night. Local chefs serve delicious food, creating a cozy atmosphere.

The bonfire stands for community and goodwill in the cold Maine winter. People enjoy hot cocoa and gingerbread cookies by the fire.

Fireworks Display

A fireworks display lights up the night at the event. It brings excitement to Ogunquit Beach with vibrant colors. The show strengthens community bonds and ends the night beautifully.

Each year, the event has concerts, craft shows, and fun for kids. Since the 1980s, it’s become a key part of Ogunquit’s holidays.

Holiday Accommodations and Charming Inns

Ogunquit, Maine shines in the holiday season with inviting accommodations for all. You can find romantic getaways, LGBTQ+-friendly inns, or family-friendly stays. Its charming inns, Bed and Breakfasts, and seaside resorts make Christmas unforgettable.

Cozy Bed and Breakfasts

The Bed and Breakfasts in Ogunquit are ideal for a cozy, personal stay. They blend comfort with warm hospitality. These places are great for a romantic trip, with rooms that often have fireplaces and antique decor. Everyone is made to feel welcome, making these inns a top choice.

Take the Inn on Shore Road and the Ogunquit Beach Inn, for example. They’re known for top service and are close to the beach and village center.

Seaside Resorts

Looking for luxury? Ogunquit’s seaside resorts are the answer. Anchorage by the Sea and Cliff House Maine offer stunning ocean views. They have luxurious spas, fine dining, and heated pools. Plus, they’re next to Marginal Way, with its ocean views.

During the holidays, these resorts get festive with decorations and events. They offer special seasonal packages too. Whether it’s a winter swim or a beach bonfire, the coastal vibe here is magical.

Festive Parades in Ogunquit and Wells

The holiday season makes Ogunquit and Wells very special. Holiday parades here are events everyone looks forward to. They show the warmth and friendliness of these towns in Southern Maine.

Ogunquit’s Christmas by the Sea Festival has an amazing parade. It includes floats, marching bands, and lively characters. This parade is the heart of a two-week celebration, thrilling everyone on Main Street.

Not far away, the Southern Maine Christmas Parade in Wells ends the festive weekend. It starts at 2 p.m., featuring Santa and Mrs. Claus, elves, and horse-drawn carriages. For 37 years, it’s brought holiday joy to Wells, becoming a cherished tradition.

Ogunquit and Wells together create magic with their parades. These events show the power of local traditions in making holidays special. With everyone’s hard work and participation, these parades capture the true spirit of the season in Southern Maine.

Exploring Marginal Way and Beyond

The Marginal Way Ogunquit is a true gem in the heart of Maine, offering scenic coastal walks that captivate visitors year-round. This Maine coastal pathway is especially charming during the holiday season. It gives breathtaking coastal views of the Atlantic Ocean and the rugged shoreline.

Scenic Walks Along Marginal Way

Walking the Marginal Way Ogunquit in winter feels magical. Snow-covered cliffs and icy benches add to its serene beauty. The path has benches for walkers to enjoy the stunning coastal views. It’s a favored spot for those looking for a unique coastal experience in winter.

Nearby Attractions

The charm of Ogunquit goes beyond Marginal Way Ogunquit. A short drive away, visitors find the historic Nubble Lighthouse in York, a highly photographed Maine landmark. This nearby attraction, along with the New England charm of Ogunquit, adds to the holiday allure of the area. Also, Kennebunkport is close by. It’s known for the Bush family’s summer home and its festive Christmas Prelude event.

For those who love shopping, the Kittery Outlets are just 20 minutes south of Ogunquit. There, major name brands fill the large outlet mall, offering a shopping paradise. These nearby attractions blend with the New England charm of Ogunquit. This ensures visitors have lots to enjoy while exploring the beautiful Maine coastal pathways.

Nearby Attractions Distance from Ogunquit
Nubble Lighthouse 20 minutes
Kennebunkport 15 minutes
Kittery Outlets 20 minutes

Whether you love scenic winter walks or exploring nearby gems like the Nubble Lighthouse, the Marginal Way Ogunquit area has lots to offer. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the season and New England’s charm.

Christmas in Ogunquit, Maine

In Ogunquit, Maine, Christmas is filled with joy, festive traditions, and a warm community feeling. The town offers the Ogunquit Christmas by the Sea and delicious holiday menus by local chefs. There’s plenty of holiday spirit to go around in this coastal town.

Ogunquit’s coastal charm comes alive with Christmas events like the Taste the Season. Local restaurants show off their best holiday dishes. Visitors can also enjoy a bonfire on the beach, with tasty treats and warm hands.

The Ogunquit Fire Station plays a big role in the town’s Christmas traditions. In 2021, they served a Christmas meal to 20 people, growing to about 30 in 2022. The event is open to anyone, highlighting the town’s community spirit.

The fire chief starts early on Christmas Day, preparing turkeys at 3 a.m. All turkeys are donated by 1-800-BoardUp. Lynn Osgood takes care of desserts. The menu includes mashed potatoes, a veggie dish, brownies with ice cream, and hot fudge.

During Christmas, Ogunquit’s art scene blossoms at the Christmas by the Sea art sale. Local artists sell their work, like jewelry and wreaths. The Giving Tree Silent Auction helps various charities, with tree decorations donated by locals.

The second weekend in December starts Ogunquit’s Christmas by the Sea. The event features a tree lighting on Friday night, Santa visits, and fresh seafood. There’s also a Bell Choir Concert, adding to the holiday atmosphere.

Kennebunkport’s Christmas Prelude and York’s Festival of Fostering Trees add more fun to southern Maine’s Christmas. Kennebunkport, praised by HGTV, celebrates with 10 days of festivities. York kicks off the season with lights, carols, cocoa, and cookies.

The Ogunquit Chamber of Commerce and volunteers make sure each visitor has a great time. With various activities, Ogunquit is the perfect holiday spot.

Event Details
Christmas Meal at Ogunquit Fire Station – Community involvement
– 1-800-BoardUp donated turkeys
– Desserts by Lynn Osgood
Christmas by the Sea Art Sale – Jewelry, wreaths, sweaters
– Local artist showcase
Polar Plunge – Fundraising for Toys for Tots
– Takes place at Ogunquit Beach
Kennebunkport Christmas Prelude – First 10 days of December
– Recognized by HGTV
Lighting of the Nubble – Festive kickoff event
– Carols, hot cocoa, cookies
Festival of Fostering Trees – Benefits foster youth
– Tree raffles by local businesses


As we end our journey exploring Christmas in Ogunquit, we see why it’s so special. It’s ranked as the second-best “Christmas Town” in the U.S., right after Aspen, Colorado. Ogunquit beats places like Nantucket by offering unique holiday traditions and fun outdoor activities. These capture the true spirit of the season. The Christmas by the Sea Festival and Main Street events fill Ogunquit with holiday warmth and cheer.

The town’s festive spirit shines with lots of activities and events. From the bright tree lighting ceremonies to delicious food from local chefs, there’s so much joy. And don’t forget the cozy bonfires on Ogunquit Beach. The Ogunquit Playhouse, craft fairs, and carolers add even more to the holiday mood.

Concluding this guide, visiting Ogunquit during the holidays is not just a trip. It’s a chance to dive into a rich mix of local traditions and beautiful coastlines. If you’re planning your holiday, think about joining in Ogunquit’s celebration of cheer and warmth. Let the memories of this amazing Christmas town call you back, year after year.

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