BELFAST — From Dec. 9 to Dec. 11, the city of Belfast became Whoville — sans Grinch.

Ignoring a wind-driven chill, visitors turned up all over the city for a variety of seasonal events and sales that coincided with the Holiday on the Harbor celebration hosted by the Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce.

“’Tis the season,” said Belfast Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Dorothy Havey. “I love all the smiles.”

Smiles and happiness were the currency of the weekend.

A customer considers a purchase at Waterfall Arts’ weekend Pop-Up market that coincided with the Holiday on the Harbor celebration Dec. 9-11. Photo by Jim Leonard




Visitors look at decorated trees and gifts offered in Belfast Area High School’s Project Graduation Festival of Trees, held Dec. 10 and 11. Photo by Jim Leonard

Havey spoke as she and chamber members set up the Belfast Boathouse for a visit from Santa, who arrived by horse-drawn carriage at the appointed hour to a crowd of excited children and parents. The visit to the Boathouse was just one of many appearances made by the North Pole’s most famous resident this past weekend.

Santa and Mrs. Claus pictured with an excited youngster and his mom at the Belfast Boathouse during Holiday on the Harbor Dec. 10. Photo by Jim Leonard

Waterfall Arts rolled out the spirit with a Pop-Up market that began on Friday and ran through the weekend. Artists, artisans and crafters sold their wares and chatted about process while patrons browsed for that special something that was beautiful and unique.

Little River Baptist Church members sing carols at the Holiday on the Harbor celebration Dec. 10. Photo by Jim Leonard

Belfast Area High School kept the spirit rolling with its Festival of Trees Dec. 10 and 11. Local businesses and organizations decorated artificial trees with gift packages mixed in with ornaments. Patrons purchased tickets and toured the trees throughout the school, placing tickets into a bucket at the base of the tree they hoped to win. Tickets were drawn on Sunday evening for winners. All of the proceeds from the Festival of Trees will go to BAHS Project Graduation.

Outside temperatures forced the Holiday on the Harbor celebration to find a warmer space. The Chamber of Commerce crew deftly moved the event into the Boathouse, where Santa greeted dozens of youngsters while carolers from Little River Baptist Church provided background music.

Cookies, popcorn and hot chocolate were served while kids made holiday decorations, decorated sugar cookies, and rode in the horse-drawn carriage. A book drive undertaken over the past month allowed every child to leave with a book.

Visitors to Holiday on the Harbor enjoy a carriage ride. Photo by Jim Leonard

The Belfast Maskers offered three weekend performances of “The Best/Worst Christmas Pageant Ever.”

All the while, Belfast businesses welcomed shoppers with discounts and holiday cheer.

Late in the afternoon of Dec. 10, The First Church in Belfast dedicated a new lighting system in the church steeple. The steeple has been dark for the past three years, but no more. The new display impressed Santa.

The First Church in Belfast dedicated these colorful new steeple lights on Dec. 10. Photo by Jim Leonard

“Those are bright,” St. Nick said of the new lights. “I think I’ll use them as a landmark on my next visit.”

The weekend was a busy one for Santa, shown here with a local family at the Lions Club’s Breakfast with Santa Dec. 11 at the Waldo County Shrine Club. Photo by Michelle Christian

That “next visit” came the following day when Santa showed up for breakfast at the Waldo County Shrine Club on High Street. Breakfast with Santa, served up by the Belfast Lions’ Club, drew dozens of kids more interested in toys than toast. It was a perfect ending to a weekend ensconced in the holiday spirit with not a Grinch in sight.