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Enjoy bright lights during Gardens Aglow and holiday comedy with ‘Elf’

Gardens Aglow. Courtesy photo

Gardens Aglow at Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens
Through Dec. 31 (closed Christmas Eve), Thursday through Sunday, 4–9 p.m.
132 Botanical Gardens Drive, Boothbay
With hundreds of thousands of lights, the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens boasts the largest light show in Maine. To have a merry time, dress for a walking tour and buy tickets in advance (available online). While you’re there, enjoy some holiday shopping in the Gardenshop. (207–633–8000; mainegardens.org)

Photo by Robert Dennis

Christmas Prelude
Nov. 29 through Dec. 9
Throughout Kennebunkport
If you’re looking for some Christmas spirit, you’re sure to find it in Kennebunkport. Events include the tree lighting in Dock Square and the Cape Porpoise lobster trap tree lighting, a Golden Chariot ride and cocktail party at the Seashore Trolley Museum, a hat parade and a pooch parade, candlelight caroling at the Franciscan Monastery, a “walk to Bethlehem” in the inn district, Santa arrivals by both boat and firetruck, fireworks and the Fire & Ice party. (christmasprelude.com)

‘A Christmas Carol: The Musical’
Nov. 30 through Dec. 16
City Theater, 205 Main St., Biddeford
In this musical adaptation of Charles Dickens’ most well-known story, curmudgeon Ebenezer Scrooge gets schooled in holiday spirit by three apparitions. Shows are Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. ($20; 207–282–0849; citytheater.org)

Sparkle Weekend Celebration
Dec. 79
Throughout Freeport
Freeport’s three-day kickoff to Christmas includes a Parade of Lights down Main Street to wake up the famous Talking Christmas Tree, plus horse-drawn carriage rides, a holiday movie marathon, festive rides on the Amtrak Downeaster, music, food and, of course, plenty of places to shop. (sparklecelebration.com)

Cirque Dream Holidaze
Thursday, Dec. 13 at 7:30 p.m.
Cross Insurance Arena, 515 Main St., Bangor
This two-hour cirque adventure with 20 astonishing acts, original music and more than 300 costumes is just the spectacle for the holidays, celebrating Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s. ($29 and up via ticketmaster.com)

Bahaha Humbug Holiday Comedy Show
Friday, Dec. 14 at 8 p.m.
Frontier, 14 Maine St., Mill 3 Fort Andross, Brunswick
Come for dinner, stay for the laughs with some of Maine and New England’s best and brightest comedians. ($12 in advance via brownpapertickets.com, $15 at the door; explorefrontier.com)

‘Elf: The Musical’
Dec. 630
Penobscot Theatre Co., 131 Main St., Bangor
Based on the 2003 film “Elf,” this holiday musical comedy follows Buddy from the North Pole to the Big Apple, where he helps New Yorkers remember the true meaning of Christmas. Suitable for all ages. (penobscottheatre.org)

Whodunit Musical Mayhem
New Year’s Eve
Duffy’s Tavern Grill, 168 Saco Ave., Old Orchard Beach
Make New Year’s Eve memorable with an interactive murder mystery night dinner and entertainment. Doors open at 5:45 p.m. on New Year’s Eve. (Buy tickets for $35 in advance at Duffy’s in OOB; duffysmaine.com)

Osher Institute for Lifelong Learning
210 Wishcamper Center, 44 Bedford St., University of Southern Maine, Portland
The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute offers an extensive array of courses for students 50 or older. There are no entrance requirements, grades and tests; it’s your experience and love of learning that count, no college background is needed. The six-week winter term starts Jan. 8 and includes peer-taught courses in everything from music and art to history and science. An annual membership is $25. (207–780–4406; usm.maine.edu/olli)

Stranger in a Strange Land. Photo copyright of Jodi Cobb, courtesy of Portland Ovations

Stranger in a Strange Land
Thursday, Jan. 10, 79 p.m.
Merrill Auditorium, 20 Myrtle St., Portland
Portland Ovations welcomes National Geographic photographer Jodi Cobb to give a whirlwind retrospective of her career spanning four decades, illustrated by award-winning photography and video and concluding with a Q&A session. Known for breaking through barriers and going undercover to reveal hidden societies, Cobb captures fascinating glimpses of worlds such as Japan’s secret Geisha culture, the cloistered lives of Saudi Arabian women and a wide range of human trafficking. ($35–40; portlandovations.org)

Sugarloaf Charity Ball
Saturday, Jan. 26
King Pine Room, Base Lodge, Sugarloaf, Carrabassett Valley
With food, music, live silent auctions and lots of Sugarloafers, this popular annual fundraiser is an opportunity to support Maine Cancer Foundation, the Martha B. Webber Breast Care Center and the Dempsey Centers. (Buy tickets online in advance at sugarloafcharitysummit.org)

Ice Bar at Portland Harbor Hotel
Jan. 2426
Portland Harbor Hotel, 468 Fore St., Portland
This popular three-night event includes an ice sculpture garden and an outdoor cocktail party with DJ Jon, with food, drinks and dancing indoors. (Buy tickets online in advance at portlandharborhotel.com)

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