Country Christmas in Bethel, Maine

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Holiday events from Thanksgiving to Christmas in Bethel Maine, free skiing on Santa Sunday, Living Nativity Scene, free horse-drawn wagon rides, craft fairs, 19th century historic holiday party.

Bethel, Maine, a resort community known for building the world’s tallest snowman; for winter recreation-alpine and Nordic skiing, snowshoeing, snowmobiling and sled dog trips and most recently as the filming location for the DVD “The Twelve Dogs of Christmas” will celebrate the holiday season every weekend from November 25 to December 24.

On Friday, November 25, a hometown craft and wares fair with locally crafted jewelry, quilts, wooden-ware, pottery, knitting, photography, basketry, candles, stained glass and foodstuffs will be held at the Bethel Inn Conference Center. The weekend of November 26 and 27 is the Annual Demo Days at Sunday River Ski Resort. November 26 is opening night of the Bud Light Concert Series with Gin Blossoms performing at Sunday River Ski Resort. The Bethel Rotary Club sponsors an all-you-can-eat, breakfast buffet at Gould Academy Sunday November 27.

Saturday, December 3 is the Taste of Bethel and Theme Wreath Auction. Local restaurants will serve samples of their signature dishes including soups and chowders, desserts, appetizers and beverages. Area businesses will auction wreaths themed to their trades and industries. The events take place at Telstar High School. Santa arrives late afternoon to light the town Christmas tree, a thirty foot blue spruce planted twenty years ago on the town common. Saturday night is the annual Santa Ball at Sunday River with music by the legendary James Montgomery Band playing lyrical blues tunes.

Sunday, December 4, is the Sixth Annual Santa Sunday at Sunday River Ski Resort. Skiers dressed as Santa and contributing $10 to the Rotary Club’s gift drive will receive free skiing and riding that day. Skiers must pre-register on line at An on-line contest will be held at to select the “head” Santa to lead the parade of Santas on the chairlift and skiing down the mountain. At 2 pm Sunday afternoon at the West Parish Congregational Church, the King’s Revels perform a cappella holiday music of the Renaissance, French chansons and madrigals

Thursday, December 8, the Bethel Historical Society will host “Christmas with The Masons.’ The Mason House period rooms will be decorated in traditional nineteenth century style and illuminated with candles.

December 17 is Nordic Demo Day at the Sunday River Cross Country Ski Center. Cross Country skiers have free use of demonstration equipment from Fischer and Karhu.

The Living Nativity Scene on the town common is scheduled for the evening of December 18.

Every weekend during the period there will be horse-drawn wagon rides, shopping specials and open houses.

For information contact the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce at 1-207-824-2282 or on line at

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Wende Gray
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