Black Friday is a great way to score some cool stuff at low prices, but it’s also a good way to lose that cozy, familial and thankful feeling that comes with the season. If maddening crowds aren’t for you, check out these other awesome things to do in Maine on Black Friday instead of shopping. And, if you just can’t fight the urge to shop, we’ve got a few ideas hidden within this list just for you!
1. Historic Inns of Rockland Holiday House Tour, Rockland
Technically this is on Saturday, but it's very cool! You'll have the opportunity to tour some Historic Inns and private homes of Rockland. This festive tour, part of the Festival of Lights, includes historic inns and homes decked out in holiday decorations you'll never forget. After the tour, a Christmas tree silent auction will be held at the library. Want to make a night of it? There will be special lodging options available throughout town. Participating homes include
Berry Manor Inn, LimeRock Inn, Granite Inn, Rockland Public Library, and more.
The event runs from 1-4pm, November 28, 2015.
2. Plaid Friday, Portland
Take part in Plaid Friday by shopping local and independent shops in the city. Get into the spirit of Maine by wearing plaid while you do it and you could win the contest hosted by "Portland Buy Local." Here's how: Beginning on Nov. 28, take a photo of yourself or a friend out at an independent Portland business. Post the photo on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and tag the store you’re in along with "Portland Buy Local" (facebook.com/portlandbuylocal, @ptldbuylocal on Twitter or instagram.com/portlandbuylocal) and use thehashtag #happylocalshopper. See their website for more information and contest rules.
3. The Polar Express, Portland
Head to Portland on Friday and take a magical ride on the Polar Express.
Riders will board at the Ocean Gateway Visitor Center to meet the Conductor, followed by hot chocolate and cookies served by hot chocolate chefs. The ride will include listening to a reading of the story as the train journeys to the “North Pole.” Santa will be on hand to greet children and all passengers will be invited to sing carols as the train heads back to the depot. The best part? All proceeds go to support the museum. Call the box office at (207) 842-0800 to purchase tickets ranging from $24 to $40.
4. Science for Sprouts, Coastal Children's Museum, Rockland
Keep the kids entertained instead of dragging them around the mall. The folks at the Coastal Children's Museum have designed a program geared towards kids ages 2-4 that will incorporate science and art in a 30 minute session that starts at 10:30 AM.
Coastal Children's Museum, 75 Mechanic St., Rockland
5. Hit the Trails, Everywhere
This year, REI will close all of their retail locations on Black Friday urging people to #optoutside. To follow their lead, hit the trails all over Maine and enjoy some time with friends and family while you remember all we have to be thankful for outside. Try heading to Evans Notch for the Blueberry Mountain hike and get a bite to eat at Jockey Cap Country Store on Bridgton Road in Fryeburg.
6. Parade of Lights, Waterville
The annual parade of floats will head down Main Street at 6pm on Friday. Floats will assemble on Front Street, travel up Union Street, turn left on Main and continue to Castonguay Square with the lighting of the giant spruce and Santa’s arrival at Kringleville.
7. Monument Square Tree Lighting, Portland
From 5:30 to 6:30 pm, enjoy the festivities in Monument Square during the the Annual Tree Lighting.
8. Lighting of Nubble, York Beach
Watch Nubble Light shine on Saturday at 5 pm. The York High School Chamber Singers will perform and Santa will make an appearance at 6 pm. Cookies and hot chocolate will be on hand for all. Park at Ellis Park at Short Sands and get on one of the free shuttles between 3 pm to 7 pm.
9. Art at the Maine Jewish Museum, Portland
Rich Entel attended the Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture and was an artist-in-residence at the MacDowell Colony. His "Cardboard Menagerie” showcases sculptures that are angular and intricate, a fusion of fragmented musical instruments, discarded cardboard and ancient text.
10. “The Sign Project," Augusta
“The Sign Project” showcases the creative work of students from Cony High School and the University of Maine at Augusta as they address issues of bias in an exhibit at the Holocaust and Human Rights Center (HHRC) of Maine. This is the last weekend to see this important exhibit. The photograph exhibit can be seen in the atrium gallery of the HHRC located at Michel Klahr Center on the Augusta campus of the University of Maine at Augusta, the gallery is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.
11. Gardens Aglow at The Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Boothbay
Lights will be strung and the CMBG will create the largest light display in Maine. All 14 acres of the property will be festively lit and and visitors will enjoy music, special food and beverage options in the café, and holiday shopping in the gift shop. Open at 4 pm Friday, Saturday and Sunday this weekend.
What will you be doing this holiday weekend? Let us know in the comments so that others can add to their own event calendar.