FREEPORT – With the Christmas season in full swing, and the presents purchased on Black Friday safely hidden away, it’s almost time for a popular local tradition, Freeport’s Sparkle Weekend.
Sponsored by the FreeportUSA merchants association, Sparkle Weekend runs from Friday, Dec. 7 to Sunday, Dec. 9 and the weekend promises to be full of events for all ages. “It’s our biggest event of the year,” said Kelly Edwards, Freeport USA’s events planner. “Every year, the town gets into it. It’s a lot of fun.”
Sparkle Weekend kicks off on Friday with a parade of lights down Main Street at 6 p.m., culminating in the awakening of the town’s “Talking Christmas Tree.” The parade will feature floats, music, costumed characters and more. In keeping with Freeport’s maritime tradition, Santa will eschew his traditional sleigh and ride down Main Street on his holiday yacht on his mission to bring the Talking Christmas Tree to life at the corner of Main and Grove streets.
Visitors will enjoy festive events and activities throughout the weekend. L.L. Bean will be getting into the holiday spirit, with a musical light show five times every night from 6-10 with a different show each hour. There will also be free horse-drawn carriage rides around the L.L. Bean campus to see all the holiday lights. The carriage departs on a regular basis in front of L.L. Bean on Main Street.
On Saturday, Dec. 8, there will be caroling in the downtown, book signings by Maine authors at L.L. Bean and a free marathon of classic holiday movies at the Freeport Factory Stage. The movie lineup includes: “The Polar Express,” “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas,” “The Muppet Christmas Carol,” “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” “Elf” and “Bad Santa” (for adults 18 and over only).
The Amtrak Downeaster will be parked at the Freeport station on Depot Street on Saturday afternoon for a special holiday event. Edwards said the train “will be fully decorated” and will be hosting a special reading of the story “The Polar Express.” The free readings, which will be at 2 and 3 p.m., will also include hot chocolate served in a special commemorative mug, and, Edwards said, Santa Claus himself will be making an appearance on the train.
On Sunday, Dec. 9 the weekend continues with a presentation of the Odd Company’s “A Christmas Carol.” The show is on the L.L. Bean campus and begins at 1 p.m. Then, from 2-4 p.m., stop by for a visit with Santa at Wilbur’s of Maine Candy Shoppe at 174 Lower Main St.
To see a complete list of Sparkle Weekend events, go to freeportusa.com.