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Shannon Bryan

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Posted: December 15, 2014

Whisky tasting, carol slam & Holiday Spectacular: 11 things to do in Maine this weekend

Written by: Shannon Bryan

We’re on the holiday home stretch, folks. Hopefully you’ve been able to bask in Christmas glory these last few weeks, but if holiday spirit has been hard to nail down this year, there’s a handful of events this weekend that’ll help you revel in holiday enthusiasm before it’s too late. There’s “A Christmas Carol,” except this version includes fairy tale characters. There’s Magic of Christmas, a classic. Take a steam engine train ride to see Santa, see local musicians performing holiday tunes and attend the Carol Slam to vote on your favorite new carol.

For the weekend of Dec 18-21, 2014:

Whisky tasting

6 to 9 p.m. Friday | Museums of Old York, York | $35, $30 members |
Learn about (and by that we mean sample) four types of single malt whisky with the help of whisky connoisseur Peter Blyberg. Bill Irish, professional chef and avid historical re-enactor, will also cook up some historic foods that should pair well with both the scotch and the fiddle tunes. Didn’t we mention the fiddle tunes?

"Fairy Tale Christmas" graphic

“Fairy Tale Christmas” graphic

“A Fairy Tale Christmas Carol”

7 p.m. Thursday, Friday & Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday | Chocolate Church Arts Center, Bath | $10 |
Imagine “A Christmas Carol” played by fairy tale characters. Scrooge is played by the Big Bad Wolf. There are the three little pigs, Mary had a little lamb, Cinderella, Humpty Dumpty and a host of familiar character. Except you’ve never seen them quite like this.

Portland Carol Slam

2:30 to 4 p.m. Saturday | Bull Feeney’s, Portland | Free |
The carol slam, modeled after the poetry slam, invites would-be carol composers to write their own holiday songs. Yours could be the next Jingle Bells! And you’ll be remembered forever just like the guy who wrote Jingle Bells, whatever his (or her?) name was! Submissions will be performed by the Carol Slam Choir and the audience gets to hear them all and vote for the best. Winner gets a wreath – the Christmas season’s highest badge of honor.

Press Herald file photo

Press Herald file photo

Portland Symphony Orchestra: “Magic of Christmas”

2 pm & 7:30 pm Friday & Saturday, 1 pm & 5 pm Sunday | Merrill Auditorium, Portland | $31-$76 |
The magic is going to get you, whether you want it to or not. No one leaves the Magic of Christmas feeling like a Scrooge. It’s just not possible. Go ahead, try listening to the magical, orchestral sounds of the PSO and those heart-warming holiday songs, and not walk away swooning over Christmas. You’ll be swooning, I promise.

Photo courtesy Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Railway Museum

Photo courtesy Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Railway Museum

Victorian Christmas train ride

11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday | Wiscasset, Waterville and Farmington Railway Museum, 97 Cross Road, Alna | Free |
Take a steam or diesel train ride to visit the man of the hour: Santa. He’ll be waiting at the Alna Center Station down the line. In addition to the wintry train ride, you can ride a horse-drawn sleigh and hang out by the bonfire and eat homemade treats.

One Longfellow Square graphic

One Longfellow Square graphic

Live and Local: Holiday Spectacular

9 p.m. Saturday | $10 or free with a donation of a toy | One Longfellow Square, Portland |
It’s a musical holiday extravaganza at One Longfellow Square when a host of local musicians take to the stage to play their favorite Christmas songs. Samuel James, Dominic Lavoie, Zach Jones and others will perform, and OLS will have plenty of egg nog and a special holiday drink, too. Bring a toy to donate (because Christmas) and get in free (and also feel really good about being a giver).

Home for the Holidays promo

Home for the Holidays promo

Home for the Holidays: A Seacoast Musical Celebration

8 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m. Saturday, 5 p.m. Sunday | Star Theatre at The Kittery Community Center, Kittery | $15-$55 |
Wear your favorite holiday sweater for this festive and fast-paced show, which features over 45 local performers. The family-friendly event is a “mix of traditional holiday standards presented with contemporary flair,” featuring spirited song and dance.

On the cheap

Tim Sample Book Launch and Author Signing
6:30 p.m. Thursday, Letterpress Books at Northgate Plaza, 91 Auburn St., Portland.
5 p.m. Friday at Longfellow Books, Monument Square, Portland.
Maine funnyman will read from and sign copies of his latest book, “Answers to Questions Nobody was Askin'” It’s a collection of short stories with the kind of humor Sample’s famous for with plenty of tales of growing up in living in Maine and his career as an entertainer.

The Portland Jazz Orchestra Holiday Show
8 p.m. Thursday, One Longfellow Square, 181 State St., Portland, $9.
Dash through the snow and fa la la your way over to One Longfellow Square for a merry night of holiday tune-age…big band style. Dr. Chris Oberholtzer and his 18-piece ensemble will perform an evening of big band swing with songs of the Christmas persuasion and more.

Downton Abbey Tea and Talk
Noon, Saturday, Lewiston Public Library, 200 Lisbon St., free.
Chat up a storm with other Downton Abbey fans while you sip tea and enjoy light snacks. What were your favorite moments? What do you think will happen in season five? How many scandals can one show have? These questions and more will be discussed. Dressing in your best hat or teatime attire is optional but encouraged.

Mid Winters Eve at Stonehenge
7 p.m. Saturday, Southworth Planetarium, University of Southern Maine, 96 Falmouth St., Portland, $5 suggested donation.
Join other curious souls for a virtual store of Stonehenge guided by scholar Lawrence Price. Questions like “Why was it built?” “Who built it?” and “How was it built?” will be pondered as Price shares theories and facts.

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