2013-11-29 / Front Page

Another Prelude season at hand

By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

KENNEBUNKPORT — Santa and Mrs. Claus’ arrival is nigh as Kennebunkport’s Christmas Prelude rapidly approaches. The holiday event starts Thursday, Dec. 5, through Sunday, Dec. 8 and continues on Friday, Dec. 13 through Sunday, Dec. 15.

Prelude, hosted by the Kennebunkport Business Association, started in 1982 and quickly rose to be one of the town’s most memorable annual events in the community and across New England. Multi-faceted, myriad businesses participate in the holiday celebration, including schools, churches and restaurants. Attendance in past years has brimmed to 5,000 in the first weekend alone, said Sheila Matthews-Bull, selectman and chairman of the Kennebunkport Business Association.

As Prelude turns 31 this year, Matthews-Bull anticipates it will to be as big as ever.

“I’d like to say that we are bigger and better,” she said of the event, which recently helped Kennebunkport earn a second-place ranking in HGTV’s Top 10 Christmas Towns.

“Both weekends are now jam-packed with events that it’s hard to fit more in,” Matthews-Bull said. “Both weekends are chock-full with entertainments craft fairs, music; this way they get to see the most.”

As far as the schedule goes, said Matthews-Bull, both weekends are pretty much the same; however, like any year, there are slight differences.

Federal Jack’s Brew Pub will kick-off the 10-day event with the release of its Prelude Ale, named after the famed event, on Thursday, Dec. 5 from 4 to 7 p.m.

The Portland-based Small Axe food truck will be making its Prelude debut on Friday, Dec. 6 from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. at River Tree Arts.

The Seashore Trolley Museum will offer its annual heated trolley rides and complementary hot beverages, but there are a few new items on the docket, said Executive Director of the museum and member of the Kennebunkport Business Association, Sally Bates.

On Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 7 and 8, 14 and 15 from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., Seashore will offer story time for children on a stationary heated car, in addition to riding in heated cars. Children will also have the opportunity to read stories to Trace, a licensed therapy dog from 10 a.m. to noon on Saturday, Dec. 7 and 14. On Saturday, Dec. 7, only, children will have the chance to visit and pet an ambassador horse wearing reindeer antlers from Biddeford’s Ever After Mustang Rescue.

Christmas karaoke will be offered on both Sundays from 12:30 to 4 p.m. in the visitor center. Visitors can bring their dogs to all of Seashore’s events. Tickets to ride are $6.

“One of the benefits here for families with children and dogs is that the whole experience can be shared together, because dogs can ride,” Bates said. “(The museum) is a relaxing place with children’s activities, so if you’re looking for a relaxing place that’s fun for the whole family including children and Fido, then this is the place to come.”

The Prelude beer garden and food court will be at David’s KPT on Friday, Dec. 6 from 4 to 8 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 7 p.m.

The Christmas season officially begins with the tree lighting ceremony in Dock Square, scheduled for Friday, Dec. 6 at 5:30 p.m. Later that evening, at 7 p.m, the Cape Porpoise Lobster Trap tree lighting will take place in Cape Porpoise Square.

To cap the momentous first weekend, Santa Claus and his elves will arrive via lobster boat at The Boathouse/ David’s KPT before continuing through Dock Square to the Community House on Temple Street to pose for photos with visitors.

“I always try to say that this event is not just for tourists,” said Matthews-Bull. “It’s not just for those from away. It’s for the businesses and people in town. We have a somewhat small budget; all the work (for Prelude) is done through volunteers. We have a huge volunteer base.”

“(Prelude) is a success because we always have cooperation from businesses,” Matthews-Bull said. “We want local people to take advantage of what we are, as well as people from away.”

For more information on the schedule of events, visit www.christmasprelude.com.

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