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Susan Axelrod

Susan Axelrod's food writing career began in the kitchen; she owned a restaurant and catering business for 15 years before turning to journalism. By day, she is the social media editor for Portland Press Herald. To relax, she bakes, gardens and hikes with her husband and their two dogs, preferably followed by a cocktail or a Maine beer. Susan can be contacted at 791-6310 or On Twitter: @susansaxelrod

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Posted: December 11, 2013

Twisted Christmas, Bonfires and Boat Parade of Lights: 5 things to do in Maine this weekend

Written by: Susan Axelrod

The man in the red suit will still be very much in evidence this weekend: you’ll likely see him riding on lobsterboats festooned with holiday lights in Casco Bay and even paddling around SoPo. But for some adult fun, bad Santa comes out to play for Twisted Christmas at the Winter Street Center in Bath. And what better way to take a break from all that holiday shopping than to sidle up to the ice bar for a cocktail, which you can sip by a roaring bonfire at Nonantum Resort in Kennebunkport. Speaking of shopping, of course you’ve got more to do, so check out what local crafters and artisans have to offer at the Mayo Street Arts Center on Saturday and Portland Company on Sunday.

For the weekend of Dec. 13-15

1. Warm up, chill out

Photo courtesy of The Nonantum Resort

Fire & Ice

5-10 pm Friday & Saturday | The Nonantum Resort, Kennebunkport | $25 |
Ice, bonfires, cocktails, music. Need we say more? OK, here’s more: Live music, handcrafted ice bars, a sampling of 95 Ocean, local flavor from the area’s finest restaurants and vendors, dancing under the stars, and an unparalleled bonfire – all on the picturesque Kennebunkport waterfront.

2. Get a little naughty

Twisted Christmas

8 pm Friday and Saturday | $10 at the door | Winter Street Center, Bath |
Leave the kids at home for this Christmas event. It’s naughty. Studio Theatre of Bath presents an offbeat evening of music and merriment, and, like we said, naughty.

3. Harbor lights

Boat Parade of Lights

Starts at 4:30 pm Saturday | Casco Bay, Portland | Free to watch from the shore; $10 from the Casco Bay Lines Ferry |
The Annual Portland Harbor Boat Parade of Lights is the magical night of the year when watercraft gather together, draped in their holiday finest. The parade of well-lit boats is visible from the shoreline, and Maine State Pier is a fine place to gather and gawk. But you can also climb aboard a Casco Bay Lines ferry and watch it all from the water. (Tip: Smart folks board early to snap tables in the enclosed upper deck and uncork a few bottles of wine.)

4. Handmade for the Holidays

The Big Chill Holiday Craft Fair

10 am-4 pm Saturday | Free admission | Mayo Street Arts Center, Portland |
Local art, crafts and vintage items. Downstairs will be turned into a DIY workshop, so you can drop off the kids and shop local upstairs.

PICNIC Holiday Sale

11 am-6 pm Sunday | Free admission | Portland Company Complex, Portland |
Crafters and artists from the local indie DIY scene will be selling handmade products in a variety of materials. Shoppers fine art, as well as vintage goods. Shoppers and their little ones can get their photo taken with the Yeti, and enjoy delicious food.

5. Who needs reindeer?

Shannon Bryan photo

Santa Paddle

11 am Sunday | Portland Harbor, Portland | www.faceboook/soposup
Santa likes a paddle. If you’re a paddleboarder, what better way to welcome the season that by paddling Portland Harbor in a Santa outfit. SoPoSUP puts this event together every year, and it’s quite a head-turner. Paddling Santas will launch from the Bug Light boat launch. PFDs and cold weather wetsuits a must. Costumes too. Expect a stop at Dimillos on the way back for a little warm-up.

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