Celebrate the season: Holiday events around the Seacoast

·14 min read
The holiday season is going by fast on the Seacoast with many plays, concerts, parades and events to bring you the joy of the season.
The holiday season is going by fast on the Seacoast with many plays, concerts, parades and events to bring you the joy of the season.

Christmas Day is coming fast, but there's still time to enjoy holiday concerts, plays, movies and celebrations around the Seacoast. Here's a list of holiday fun this weekend and in the days leading up to Christmas.

'Christmas Carol' at Players' Ring Theatre

The Players' Ring Theatre will present its annual Charles Dickens' "Christmas Carol" in a new, fully-staged adaptation through Dec. 23. The Ring will also present "The Toymaker's Apprentice," a 45-minute children's show performed by professionals through Dec.19. It tops off the year with "A Drag New Year's Party," (Dec. 31) with Lady Ro, a Dive In Productions presentation. For tickets and more information, visit playersring.org.

Let the holiday preparations begin as groups around the Seacoast host holiday tree lightings, parades, art sales and entertainment.
Let the holiday preparations begin as groups around the Seacoast host holiday tree lightings, parades, art sales and entertainment.

Rochester Opera House 'Carol' and friends

The Rochester Opera House's annual "Christmas Carol," runs through Dec. 19. Visit rochesteroperahouse.com

At the Rochester Performing Arts Center, also in downtown Rochester, "A & M For the Holidays - LIVE at RPAC!" will be performed at 7 p.m. on Dec.17. Join Seacoast powerhouses Amanda Dane and Merrill Peiffer as they share their recently launched holiday album. Cabaret style seating and concessions throughout the performance held at the more intimate RPAC Recital Hall, located at 32 N Main Street in downtown Rochester. Masks are required for this event.

The year's in-house shows will wrap with the return of Li Monahd's (Liam Blanchard) and her girls in "Li Monahd's Holiday Hoopla" drag show on Dec. 23. For tickets and more info, visit rochesteroperahouse.com.

Li Monahd (Liam Blanchard) will present a New Year's Eve Drag Show at the Rochester Opera House.
Li Monahd (Liam Blanchard) will present a New Year's Eve Drag Show at the Rochester Opera House.

New Hampshire Theatre Project debuts 'Not On This Night'

New Hampshire Theatre Project continues its holiday season with an online holiday-themed piece. The stage-to-film premier of "Not On This Night," written by late Seacoast resident Evelyn Jones and produced by StageWright Films, will be available on demand online through Jan. 9. After StageWright principals Bill Humphreys, who adapted the piece to film, and David Mauriello chose the piece, separately and simultaneously research uncovered the Evelyn L. Y. Jones Fund at the N.H. Charitable Foundation, which assists productions of the work. For tickets and more information, visit nhtheatreproject.org.

Flying high at Seacoast Repertory Theatre with 'Peter Pan'

The Seacoast Repertory Theatre will present two shows in repertory, "Peter Pan" through Dec. 23 and "The Little Prince," an original musical by Jason Faria, through Dec. 30.

On Saturday, Dec. 18 at 11 a.m. in the theater and available on livestream will be "Honey Punch and Pals." It's a Drag Queen Story Hour with Honey Punch and her puppet pals! Filled with song, dance, life lessons, silliness and more. This tongue in cheek show is truly for all ages - perfect for adults and kids alike.

For tickets and more information, visit seacoastrep.org.

McDonough and Mike Pomp
McDonough and Mike Pomp

'A Christmas Carol' returns to Garrison Players stage

Garrison Players is bringing back "A Christmas Carol," adapted by Tom Frey, which was first produced locally in 1986 and at Garrison Players in 2019. This production is directed by Debra Martuscello Wiley, and features Mike Pomp as Scrooge.

The show boasts the Madrigal Singers, a Victorian jig, and new and returning cast. The play will run through Dec.19. For tickets and more information, visit garrisonplayers.org.

Dover Youth to Youth hosts Santa’s Castle

Dover Youth to Youth is hosting its 14th annual Santa’s Castle at the McConnell Center in downtown Dover for three days during the Christmas season. Each night children and their families will be able to tour several rooms in Santa’s Castle and meet Santa and many of his elves. During the first weekend, the event will be held on Friday, Dec. 17, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 18, between the hours of 2 to 6:30 p.m. The Castle will conclude on Thursday, Dec. 23, from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

Santa’s Castle is designed for children ages eight and under, but the whole family is invited. The cost is a flat fee of $20 per reservation. In order to attend, pre-registration is required. Groups making a reservation must be no larger than seven and include family members only. To ensure the safety of all guests and performers, all visitors over the age of three are expected to wear a mask, social distancing of guests and performers will be observed, and the groups going through the tour will be spaced out more than in the past. To make a reservation visit www.DoverY2Y.org/SantasCastle2021.

Juston McKinney will present his traditional Year In Review shows at The Music Hall in Portsmouth Dec. 26 to 28.
Juston McKinney will present his traditional Year In Review shows at The Music Hall in Portsmouth Dec. 26 to 28.

Vintage Christmas

There's Vintage Christmas back with its centerpieces, Strawbery Banke Museum's Candlelight Stroll Under the Stars; numerous events at The Music Hall (notably the return of comedian Juston McKinney's Year in Review: 2021 for three shows Dec. 26, 27 and 28; and the ever-popular Portsmouth Historical Society's 31st Annual Gingerbread House Contest. Visit vintagechristmasnh.org/events.

Stage Door Cabaret series at The Music Hall

This holiday series continues at The Music Hall along with some great holiday movies. Don't miss the Stage Door Cabaret performance with: Sharon Jones Quartet, Thurs., Dec. 16 at 6 p.m.; Great Bay Philharmonic String Quartet, Friday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m.; Honeysuckle, Saturday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m.; Juston McKinney: A Year in Review, Dec. 26, 27 at 6 p.m. and Dec. 28 and 29 at 7 p.m.

The Music Hall also will present: New Year’s Eve Champagne Pops with the Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra on Friday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m. Visit themusichall.org for info and tickets.

Rockingham Choral Society to perform 2 concerts

The Rockingham Choral Society will perform “Invitations and Carols” on Saturday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. in Newington and Sunday, Dec. 19 at 3:30 p.m. at Christ Church Episcopal in Exeter. The Rockingham Choral Society singers’ holiday concert program features Antonio Vivaldi’s Magnificat, RV 610 accompanied by an orchestra, and a selection of carols.

Tickets are $12 in advance for general admission, children six and under are free. Tickets can be purchased rockinghamchoral.org and from any choral society member. Tickets may also be available at the door for $15 depending on availability due to Covid-19 capacity restrictions. Holy Trinity Lutheran Church is located at 22 Fox Run Road in Newington, N.H. Christ Church, Episcopal is located at 43 Pine St. in Exeter, N.H. Masks are required for audience members at both Holy Trinity Lutheran Church and Christ Church Episcopal regardless of vaccination status.

More information can be found at www.rockinghamchoral.org or on the group’s Facebook page.

PSO Holiday Pops! concerts

The Portsmouth Symphony Orchestra (PSO) is performing two Holiday Pops! concerts celebrating holidays around the world on Saturday, Dec. 18 at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Dec. 19 at 3 p.m. at Portsmouth High School. An annual family favorite, this year’s PSO Holiday Pops! performances includes special guest star Randy Armstrong and WorldBeat Marimba.

Tickets for the Holiday Pops! performances are $30 adults, $25 seniors, and $15 students and can be purchased at portsmouthsymphony.org.

Rochester Main Street 'Elf Off the Shelf'

Elf Off the Shelf returns on Saturday, Dec. 18, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. There are 12 elves hiding around downtown; look high and low to find them all. Each elf will give you a ticket and a treat. Once you receive all your tickets, visit Collec-tiques on North Main Street to enter them into the raffle. The more tickets you have, the better your chances become to win the Grand Prize. Visit www.RochesterMainStreet.org to learn more.

Brick Store Museum’s Holiday Candlelight Stroll

The Brick Store Museum’s annual Holiday Candlelight Stroll, which tells the stories of local immigrants in the 19th Century through re-enactors, returns this year – virtually. The program occurs on two evenings: Saturday, Dec. 18 and Sunday, Dec. 19 featuring vignettes of each family. Attendees can choose to take the virtual tour only, or purchase a take-out catered dinner reflecting menus from some of the historic families.

The program explores the stories and traditions of Kennebunk's immigrant families in the 1930s. Virtual participants will meet six families (all new since last year!), including the Tolchinskys of Russia, the Andersons of Sweden, the Drescigs of Italy, the Drakoulakos of Greece, the Brenners of Poland, and the Neithercuts of Scotland, all of whom immigrated to Kennebunk at the turn of the 20th Century to work in the labor and mill industries.

Representatives (re-enactors) from each family tell visitors about their personal stories and their holiday traditions. A take-out dinner catered and packaged by For the Love of Food & Drink (Wells) will be available for pick-up, with your choice of a Greek-themed or vegetarian, Italian-themed holiday meal to complement the program. The virtual tour only is $5; the tour and dinner package is $35 with a discount for members.

Learn more about menus and featured families, plus reserve your tickets on the Museum’s website at www.brickstoremuseum.org.

Albacore Park’s Wreaths Across America ceremony

Norman and Glenda Bower, former Albacore Chief of the Boat, from the 2019 Remembrance Ceremony.
Norman and Glenda Bower, former Albacore Chief of the Boat, from the 2019 Remembrance Ceremony.

Join Albacore Park’s annual Wreaths Across America ceremony Saturday, Dec. 18 at 12 p.m., at Albacore Park, 600 Market St., Portsmouth. The event remembers the fallen, honors those who currently service in the U.SS. Military and teaches children the value of freedom. We have many wreaths to lay this year. The ceremony is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be served following the ceremony. For more information, contact Patti Violette at 603-436-3680.

Joyce Anderson and Harvey Reid Holiday Concerts

Joyce Andersen and Harvey Reid will perform a livestream concert on Friday, Dec. 17 at 8 p.m. This will again appear on our new YouTube channel “ThePuffinandLoon” which you can easily search for on YouTube. The concert link is https://youtu.be/TEsPlpvPOnU

They will feature an assortment of guitars, viola, violin, slide guitar, mandolins and autoharps, on a program of instrumental and vocal holiday music.

They will perform an in-person concert on Sunday, Dec. 19 in Durham at the Community Church of Durham, 17 Main St. downtown at 4 p.m. Tickets are $20 adult, $12 students; 8 and under free and are available at

http://www.partialcapo.com/store.htm#!/Durham-NH-Christmas-Concert-Sun-Dec-19-2021-4pm-ADULT-TICKET/p/73822033. For more info call 207-363-1886. Tickets will also be available at the door and at the church office Monday through Thurday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

St. John’s Episcopal Church Children's Christmas Pageant and Advent Meditation

St. John's Episcopal Church at 101 Chapel St., Portsmouth, invites the public to its Children's Christmas Pageant at 10 a.m. on Sunday, Dec. 19. Later that day at 5 p.m., there'll be an Advent Meditation service on "Love." For more information, visit www.stjohnsnh.org

Holiday Concert with Strafford Wind Symphony

At the Strand on Third Street in Dover, you can sing along with holiday favorites as the Strafford Wind Symphony performs on Friday, Dec. 17 at 7p.m. Visit thestranddover.com for information and tickets.

Sharon Jones & Friends: A Holiday Celebration

The Seacoast legend Sharon Jones and Friends will perform A Holiday Celebration concert on Sunday, Dec. 19 at 6 p.m. at The Press Room in Portsmoth. The concert will take place upstairs at the Press Room and doors will open at 5:30 p.m.

Ever fearless and wildly captivating, Sharon Jones' vocal chops range from gospel to jazz to R&B. Catching a showcase set of hers at the Press Room is something that always ends in a standing ovation from the crowd. Joining her will be Tim Ray on piano, Marty Ballou on bass, and Les Harris Jr on drums. Visit pressroomnh.com for more information and tickets.

York High Choral Holiday Concerts

Chamber Singers
Chamber Singers

YORK, Maine — The YHS Music Program will be presenting the second of its annual Choral Holiday Concerts on Monday, Dec. 20, 2021. The concert will be held at the York Community Auditorium and will begin at 7:30 p.m. Masks are required for both attendees and performers.

The concert, under the direction of Rob Westerberg with accompanist Deborah Clough, will include performances by the YHS Honors Treble Choir, Chorus and Chamber Singers. There is no admission fee, and doors will open a half hour earlier at 7 p.m.

Holiday Cinema

Holiday Cinema at The Music Hall in Portsmouth will include White Christmas (1954), Tuesday, Dec. 21 at 3 p.m.; Love Actually, Tuesday, Dec. 21, 7 p.m.; It’s A Wonderful Life (1946), Wed., Dec. 22 at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.; The Grinch (2018) with Children's Storytime with Santa at 2 p.m., Film at 3 p.m.; Last Christmas, Thursday, Dec. 23 at 7 p.m. Visit themusichall.org for tickets and info.

Abrielle Scharff Holiday Concert

The Seacoast's own Abrielle Scharff will perform her annual Holiday Concert once again this year at the Book and Bar in Portsmouth on Thursday, Dec. 23 at 7 p.m.. Special guests will include Kaia Mac, who is currently studying at Berklee College of Music, and The Scharff Brothers, of course, will be making an appearance and doing their thing. There'll be authenitc covers of holiday music and some originals, too. Tickets are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/abrielle-scharff-presents-abby-holidays-tickets-216514870807

Christmas Eve Service at Stratham Hill Park

The Stratham Community Church has announced their Christmas Eve service will be held at 5 p.m., on Friday, Dec. 24 in the main pavilion at Stratham Hill Park. There will be hymns sung, candles lighted, scriptures read and more. The service will be tailored for all age groups. The church welcomes everyone in the area to attend. Camping chairs and blankets are encouraged.

This will be their only service for the evening and it will not be live streamed. Everyone is required to wear a mask covering both nose and mouth regardless of vaccination status. strathamchurch.org.

St. John’s Episcopal Church Christmas services

St. John's Episcopal Church at 101 Chapel St., Portsmouth, invites the public to its Christmas Eve and Christmas Day services. On Friday, Dec. 24, there'll be Christmas Eve Family Service, with children’s music at 4 p.m.; Christmas Eve Rite II Service with musical prelude at 8 p.m.; and Christmas Eve “Midnight Mass,” Rite I, traditional service, at 11 p.m. On Saturday, Dec. 25, there'll be a Christmas Morning service, Rite II with hymns, at 10 a.m. For more information, visit www.stjohnsnh.org

First Night Fire and Ice returns

The First Night Fireworks display at the South Mill Pond will start at 8 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 31. As in the past, Jeff Day and his team from Ice Designs will also install an ice sculpture in front of North Church beginning earlier in the day. This year, there will be no indoor musical performances at downtown venues. Fireworks and ice sculptures are free for everyone to enjoy. Details, including information on street closures and parking, will be posted on the Pro Portsmouth website, proportsmouth.org/events/first-night-portsmouth

New Years Eve ball drop and ice skating in Kennebunk

On Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve Kennebunk (NYEKBK) will be a fun, family-friendly event that happens at the First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church on Main Street. Come see the brightly lit Wild Maine Blueberry Ball Drop from the bell tower with an Early Bird Blueberry Ball Drop at 9 p.m., or the Wild Blueberry Drop at midnight. As usual there will be open skating at the Waterhouse Center. For more information see the NYEKBK Facebook event page.


Portsmouth’s Second Annual Holiday Lights Contest

PORTSMOUTH – The Portsmouth Citywide Neighborhood Committee announces the following contest details: Deadline to register to compete was Dec. 10 but judging will take place between Dec. 11 and 19. The city will create a map of the Holiday Lights Contest entries available on its website so that residents can tour the lighted locations route by car.

This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Celebrate: Holiday events around the Seacoast NH