Holiday Happenings: Gloucester Celebrates Season of Lights

The holiday spirit is in the air and this weekend, Gloucester will glow thanks to a number of wonderful free activities.

The best known event is the Lobster Trap Tree Lighting ceremony, which will take place on Saturday December 13th at 5:00 p.m. The event reflects the City’s historic ties to the sea and Gloucester’s unrivaled creative community. Beauty may be in the eye of the beholder, but thanks to the amazing work of children from Cape Ann Art Haven, the 2014 ‘tree’ will surely be the most colorful and joyful in all of New England!

Lobster Pot Tree NY Times

(image courtesy of

Before the trap tree lighting ceremony takes place, Art Haven will host buoy painting for children from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at its Main Street studio. These works will be affixed to the tree outside the police station. Organizers say local lobsterman and women will donate up to 350 traps for the tree’s construction (in the New Year, Art Haven will auction the buoys at its annual fundraising event.)

Before the tree glows anew, the 17th annual Middle Street March will imbue the Gloucester Harbortown Cultural District with the spirit of the season. The fun starts at City Hall, which is hosting the annual Gingerbread House Contest & Display (note: Entries must be delivered to City Hall and registered no later than noon on Friday.) The Cape Ann Museum will provide ornament decorating at City Hall while would be ice-sculptors are encouraged to stop by the corner of Pleasant and Main Streets to learn more about this wintertime art.

Middle Street Event Sargent House

(image courtesy of Sargent House Museum Blog)

There are so many Middle Street performances, open houses and activities, we could not possibly list them all here, but popular events include the holiday fair at the Unitarian Universalist Church’s Vestry; the seARTs Wearable Art & Home Décor Holiday Show at the Saunders House; Bell Ringers at Trinity Congregational Church; Queen Elsa from Disney’s Frozen at the Sawyer Free Library; performances by the Gloucester High School Chorus, the Cape Ann Big Band, and Plum Cove Swingers, and the one-act play “Mingling of Souls from Sorrow to Joy” at the UU Church. There’s plenty for the kids to do as well, including making s’mores, storytelling, and free photos with Santa! For a complete schedule of events, visit Middle Street Walk’s website at

Folks who are looking to get their holiday festivities started a bit early are encouraged to visit the Rose Baker Senior Center Christmas Fair, which takes place on Thursday, December 11th and Friday December 12th. The fair features baked holiday treats, crafts, jewelry, books, puzzles and more.

After the big weekend, Temple Ahavat Achim will celebrate Hanukkah—the Jewish “Festival of Lights” that dates back to 160 B.C.— on Tuesday, December 16th. This year’s fiesta at the Middle Street synagogue features a first-of-its-kind and truly Gloucester-inspired “Lobster Trap Menorah”! Be sure to come by Temple Ahavat Achim when the first candle is lit at 5:30 p.m. followed by a reception and plenty of latkes (potato pancakes), the traditional holiday treat.


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