The Bar Harbor Village Christmas tree in 2017. ISLANDER FILE PHOTO

Christmas events continue despite pandemic

MOUNT DESERT ISLAND  Due to a recent increase in coronavirus cases, some of the usual holiday events will look a little different this year. 

Area towns have been cautious when planning for the holidays and many annual events have been reduced in size or modified to meet safety guidelines. Certain traditional festivities have been canceled while other newlycreated holiday celebrations have been scheduled to take their place. 

Santa Procession and Village Holiday Sale

On Friday, December 4, Santa Claus will be in Bar Harbor to  kick off the holiday season. On Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, sales will be happening at shops throughout the downtown. Friday’s procession will commence at roughly 5:30 p.m. on lower Main Street heading north toward the Village Green, turn left onto Cottage Street, then travel onto Eden Street (Rt. 3), and make a left onto Mount Desert Street before finally turning right onto Main Street and finishing at Park Street.
December 4 through 6 in Bar Harbor the Village Holidays Sale will be your chance to get out and check off items on your gift list. With local shops having reduced customer capacity this year, the usual Midnight Madness Sale will be spread out over three days to give everyone a chance to shop safely. Grab all your gifts at discounted prices on December 4, 5, and 6. A list of participating shops, their store hours, and discounts being offered will be available soon.

YWCA Christmas Bazaar 

Saturday, Dec. 12, the local YWCA will be holding a modified version of its annual Christmas Bazaar that will comply with Maine CDC regulations. Starting at 9 a.m., the association will be admitting three temperaturechecked, sanitized children every 15 minutes to shop 30 minutes for gifts. There will be a $1 entrance fee, but there will be no gift charge for this year. Reservations must be made by Tuesday, Dec. 1. The YWCA is accepting holiday donations of gifts and wrapping supplies. Email the Mount Desert YWCA at [email protected] or call (207) 288-5008 for more information. 

The Parent Shoppe 

From Tuesday, Dec. 15, through Friday, Dec. 18, the Mount Desert YWCA will also be holding The Parent Shoppe, sponsored by The Witham Family Hotels Charitable Trust, to help families located within the MDI Regional School System who have been financially affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Similar to the Christmas Bazaar, people are required to sign up by Tuesday, Dec. 1, by emailing Abby at [email protected] The association will enable parents, per scheduled time slot, to choose two gifts per child, free of charge, between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. People interested can contact the Mount Desert YWCA at (207) 288-5008. 

Bar Harbor River Church’s Night in Bethlehem 

On Friday, Dec. 11 and Dec. 18 from 67 p.m., Bar Harbor’s River Church will be hosting A Night in Bethlehem drive-in experience for the public through narration, song and even live animals. Two showings are scheduled to be held each night at the church on 1184 US Highway 102 in Town Hill. Each car will be able to tune in through an FM transmitter as the famous manger scene is reenacted and the Christmas story is narrated while a choir sings 

Holiday Craft Fair 

The Island Arts Association will host its annual holiday fair on Friday, Dec. 4, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 5, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Atlantic Oceanside in Bar Harbor. There will be fewer crafters this year to allow for more distancing at the event, which will be COVID-19 safety compliant. Guests will remain masked for everyone’s safety and to ensure a successful event.

Town of Mount Desert Lights 

This year, the village of Northeast Harbor will be lit up on Dec. 5. People are encouraged to drive through town to see the marina, the Mount Desert Chamber Office and Main Street decked out in lights. A newly planted tree in honor of Tom Savage will also be lit for the season. The lighting will be held virtually on the town’s Facebook page.  

Letters to Santa 

Dec. 1 through Dec. 17, the mailbox located in front of the Great Harbor Maritime Museum will be accepting children’s letters to Santa. Children are welcome to write letters and deliver them to the 124 Main Street location in Northeast Harbor.  

Mount Desert Maine Seacoast Mission 

On Dec. 5, the Maine Seacoast Mission will be lighting up the Sunbeam from bow to sternwith a decorated Christmas tree in the salon. Its new headquarters in Mount Desert will be festively lit up, along with the rest of the town. Folks can stroll past the headquarters to see lights as they shop or walk down to the marina. In addition to what is happening in Northeast Harbor, the Mission is continuing the tradition of delivering their “White Gifts” (Christmas gifts) to children and elders throughout the community, including the outer islands, around Christmas. For more information, visit 

Shop Local in Mount Desert 

This holiday season, shops in the area want people to know they are open and invite them to shop local. Mount Desert local businesses such as the Holmes Store, Artemis Gallery, Shaw Jewelry, S.R. Tracy, FT Brown’s Ace Hardware Co., the Kimball Shop & Boutique, Pine Tree Market, ArtWaves Art and Dance Studios, Carters Real Estate, Maine Street Variety and McGrath’s invite people to come and visit.  

Southwest Harbor Christmas Tree Lighting 

Harbor House will be hosting an event on Dec. 11 at 5:30 p.m. in the Southwest Harbor Village Green to watch Santa Claus light the town Christmas tree. Although there will be no outdoor bonfires or picture taking held inside of Harbor House, families can take photos with Santa at the tree outside. All families are required to wear masks and socially distance while attending.  

First National Bank’s Angel Tree  

The Angel Tree at the First National Bank in Southwest Harbor is back for another year. Any customer who wants to purchase gifts for a local child in need should stop by and grab an angel. Donations of checks payable to the bank’s Angel Tree program are also recommended.  

Christmas Float in Tremont 

Starting at 9 a.m. on Dec. 12, the town of Tremont will have a Christmas float (16foot trailer behind a truck) that goes through Tremont with Santa on Dec. 12. Santa Claus will be making stops for those who signed up for a visit. Children will receive individually bagged goods and a chance to safely see Ol’ Saint Nick. The town encourages those who have signed up to bring along letters for Santa and drop them in the magical mailbox. 

Ninah Rein

Ninah Rein

Writer at Mount Desert Islander
Ninah Rein, an MDI native, covers news and features in the Bar Harbor area. She is glad to be back in Maine after earning a bachelor's degree in San Diego from the University of California.
Ninah Rein

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