How’s your holiday season going? Busy? Between decking the halls, holiday cooking, gift shopping, and everything else that makes up the craziness of the December time of year, be sure to take time to enjoy the incredible line-up of events happening in Portland this weekend.
Continuing the holiday excitement, this weekend you’ll break out your ugliest Christmas sweater in the Old Port, find magic at Merrill Auditorium, and hop aboard The Polar Express at the Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad. And for any of our Grinches, our Scrooges or just plain old bah humbugs, this weekend there’s even an event for you as Free Street declares war on Christmas – an anti-holiday burlesque show.
Here’s the Weekend Guide for Friday, December 9th – Sunday, December 11th
Friday the 9th
Magic of Christmas | Merrill Auditorium | 2:00 PM + 7:30 PM (Multiple Dates + Times)
Enjoy this cherished holiday tradition (now in its 43rd year!) in person! Magic of Christmas will be led by Music Director Eckart Preu and feature special guests. Celebrate the season with Christmas classics new and old – including the beloved “Sleigh Ride” performed by Portland Symphony Orchestra! Tickets here.
The Polar Express Train | Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Co. & Museum | 2:45 PM – 7:00 PM (Multiple Dates + Times)
This theatrically-driven holiday train has become an annual tradition for thousands of families, drawing over 20,000 passengers in 2021! Maine Narrow Gauge considers this year extraordinary and wants to ensure that this Maine holiday tradition continues. The Conductor boards passengers onto the nine historic passenger coaches decked out for the holidays. Once on board, magical chefs serve hot chocolate and cookies. Christmas music fills the cars as the steam locomotive blows its whistle, the wheels start turning, and your roundtrip ride begins to the North Pole. Tickets here.
Holiday Market and RWS Open Studios | Running with Scissors | 4:00 PM – 8:00 PM (Repeats Saturday 10 AM -5 PM + Sunday 12 PM – 5 PM)
The artists of Running With Scissors invite you into their studios to shop in the festive studio setting and get ready for the holidays! Studios will be open to the public, explore the life and works of 40+ artists working with diverse mediums, artistic goals, backgrounds, ages, and experiences. Wander over 16,000 square feet of private and open-air studios and communal work spaces in the clay, print, wood, and paint studios at Running With Scissors Art Studios. There will be decorations, samples from Three of Strong on Friday, treats from Oh My Cookies on Saturday and Sunday, and much more! Masks are suggested indoors.
The War on XXXmas: A Happy Holiday Anti-Holiday Show | Free Street | 8:00 PM – 11:00 PM
Do you squeal with excitement when you overhear a certain Mariah Carey song on November 1st? Or do you groan in pain as you drive by your neighbor’s giant inflatable nativity scene? Well, then THIS is the event for YOU! Prepare yourself for the fiercest battle of all time, as “Christmas” takes on “F$&# This!” It’s sure to be an all-out draglesque brawl, spreading both cheers and jeers! Tickets here.
Saturday the 10th
PMA Films: Decision to Leave | Portland Museum of Art | 2:00 PM – 4:30 PM
Film synopsis: What happens when an object of suspicion becomes a case of obsession? Winner of Cannes Best Director in 2022, Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, The Handmaiden) returns with a seductive romantic thriller that takes his renowned stylistic flair to dizzying new heights. When detective Hae-joon (Park Hae-il) arrives at a murder scene, he begins to suspect the dead man’s wife Seo-rae (Tang Wei) may know more than she initially lets on. But as he digs deeper into the investigation, Hae-joon finds himself trapped in a web of deception and desire, proving that the darkest mysteries lurk inside the human heart. In Korean and Mandarin with English subtitles. Tickets here.
5th Annual Ugly Sweater Crawl | Pat’s Pizza | 3:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Get that Goodwill sweater, find those tacky holiday pants, and get ready to jingle bell ROCK. Make it to the end and get your Holiday Drawstring Bag! Evening events includes a professional photographer on site to capture you and your crew; discounted Drink specials at participating bars ($3 beers, $4 shots, $5/$6 drinks); Christmas movie live stream trivia during crawl for prizes; DJ’s playing holiday music at multiple stops and more! Bar partners include, Pats Pizza, Dock Fore, Rosie’s, Three Dollar Dewey’s, The Porthole, Gritty’s and more. Tickets here.
Sombre Arcane / Forêt Endormie / Alehoof | Apohadian Theater | 7:30 PM – 10:00 PM
Local neoclassical chamber folk group FORÊT ENDORMIE returns to the Apohadion – their first in-town show in 3 years. The group is wrapping up work on their 3rd full length, which plunges deeper into their exploration of Renaissance, trip-hop, post-rock, neoclassical, and jazz. FORÊT ENDORMIE brings with them a pair of excellent ambient acts. SOMBRE ARCANE weaves illusionary spells to recount events and places from different worlds and planes of existence. ALEHOOF is delirious and intoxicating dungeon synth inspired ambient music from the woods of Starksboro, Vermont. Tickets here.
The Stroudwater Dating Game! | Stroudwater Distillery | 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM
This is a night dedicated to singles! Come watch contestants compete to win a date with our bachelor and bachelorette with a series of questions and other ice breakers. Even if you aren’t participating in the show there will be tons of single mingling time with crowd icebreakers during the show and a dance party mixer after! It’s going to be a night of fun and romance for all! Tickets here.
Angelikah Fahray’s Serious Life | SPACE Gallery | 7:30 PM – 10:30 PM
One part live show, one part music video shoot— local R&B starlet Angelikah Fahray and her ‘So Serious’ band perform in the round, surrounded by cameras and you— for a special live concert film. The concert will showcase a window into the world of Angelikah— through her storytelling, nuanced instrumentals, and intoxicatingly powerful, serpentine vocal delivery for which she’s widely recognized. The set will be a sneak peak into the songs of Angelikah’s forthcoming debut album. Limited seating— early purchase encouraged! Black and white business attire recommended. Tickets here.
Sunday the 11th
Cozy Winter Market | Congress Square Market | 10:00 AM – 3:00 PM
It’s back! Join Friends of Congress Square Park for a cozy day of shopping, sipping, eating, and gathering around a fire in the park. Live music from Kafari. Food from The Pink Waffle food truck, The Frying Dutchman, Lady Krispie and more!
Mimosa Sundaze | Terrarium | 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM
An “easy like Sunday morning” casual terrarium build with a complimentary mimosa (or coffee or tea or whatever helps you start your day right!). For this workshop you will be creating terrariums in antique canning jars and welcome artists of all skill levels. Tickets here.
Pokey LaFarge w/ special guest Cicada Rhythm | Portland House of Music and Events | 7:00 pM – 10:00 PM
Pokey LaFarge is an American renaissance man — an acclaimed musician, writer, actor, and designer. Fusing the rustic sounds of the past with his wry humor and eclectic music sensibilities, over his 15-year career, Pokey has sold-out theaters worldwide; toured and recorded with Jack White. His music has been featured in TV shows like Boardwalk Empire and recently had a role in 2021’s Netflix movie Devil All the Time alongside Robert Pattinson and Tom Holland. Tickets here.
Holiday Dash 5K | Eastern Promenade | 11:00 AM
Join over 400 other runners in this one-of-a-kind 5K! All proceeds benefit Portland Trails’ work to transform Greater Portland into a more walkable, bikeable, sustainable, and equitable place for all. Winter and holiday-themed costumes and attire is welcome but not required – just be sure to dress for the weather! All ages are welcome. Each participant will receive a complimentary winter hat! There will be complimentary coffee, hot cocoa, and nonalcoholic beer available at the finish line for all participants to enjoy after the race. After this year’s race, all participants who purchase a $10 brunch add-on are invited to enjoy drinks and a hearty brunch at Rí Rá Irish Pub & Restaurant! Sign up here.
For more events, head to our full Events Calendar here.