History of Christmas Prelude™:
It was the early spring of 1982 in Kennebunkport when Henry Pasco called a meeting of business people to discuss ways for the business community to give thanks to the residents of Kennebunkport and Kennebunk for supporting them. Henry suggested a Christmas Festival of some sort to create a sense of community spirit. At the time Nantucket and Marblehead in Massachusetts were staging Christmas Festivals. The goal was not to duplicate these events but to stage our own unique festival. Committees were formed and the name Prelude was suggested.
The first Prelude included a tree lighting ceremony, a River Tree Arts concert, a chowder luncheon, candlelight caroling and Santa's arrival by lobster boat. We now have three tree-lighting ceremonies – Dock Square in Kennebunkport, Lower Village of Kennebunk and the Lobster Trap Tree in Cape Porpoise; about a dozen Art and Craft Fairs; A Walk to Bethlehem; Fire & Ice Bar; and 12 programs of music celebrating the season. Santa still arrives by lobster boat escorted by two very special "lobster elves". For each year of Christmas Prelude™, business people have volunteered and worked with the community to recreate the spirit and joy of the Christmas season.
Behind the scenes of Prelude is a cast of hundreds of volunteers. Year after year, virtually every aspect of our community gets involved. Participating in Prelude activities are the churches, schools, and civic and community groups, which make Prelude the centerpiece of their fund-raising activities. Many groups support their charity work from the fairs and feasts held on the two weekends. One of the biggest events is the Lobster Bake held by the Washington Hose Fire Company that serves hundreds of people. The firefighters turn the money they generate from their events into rescue equipment, which otherwise would have been purchased with tax dollars. The very purchase of their rescue boat, the outfitting of it and the upgrading to technical equipment is a direct result of monies raised over Prelude.
Christmas Prelude™ would not be the celebration that it is without the thousands of volunteer hours that go into the preparations. The Kennebunkport Business Association plans and organizes the events and pays for the decorations for Kennebunkport and Lower Village. In good weather or bad, you will find these hardworking volunteers devoting months of their time in planning and dressing the villages in their holiday finery with sparkling lighted Christmas trees, seashell decorated wreaths, and garlands of greenery and ribbon.
What We Are:
The Kennebunkport Business Association is an all volunteer, non-profit organization of local merchants, restaurateurs, innkeepers and other tourist-related businesses which share the objectives of the KBA as stated in our by-laws. Membership is exclusive to businesses in Kennebunkport, Cape Porpoise and Kennebunk's Lower Village.
Our purpose is to work to make our villages pleasant and friendly places for all who visit and shop here. We share the common goal of promoting our area to both the tourist trade and the local residents while preserving the uniqueness of our very special New England community.
Our most successful accomplishment is Kennebunkport's Christmas Prelude™, the twelve-day holiday celebration that commences on the first weekend in December. The festival - owned, created, produced and paid for entirely by the KBA through its membership support - enjoys national awareness and has been covered by various media outlets over the years. The first weekend of Prelude is not only the single busiest weekend of the year for most businesses, it presents the most viable means for local civic organizations to fundraise and, in doing so, helps build goodwill between local residents and the business community.
KBA is actively involved in town services and issues regarding the betterment of the community and fulfilling the purposes of the organization. To that end, you will find KBA members on community committees and the Board of Selectmen, attending Selectmen, Planning Board, Budget Board and Town meetings and focusing on issues critical to KBA and its members (motor coach traffic, restrooms, parking lot fees, town lighting, land use ordinances, and other specific needs of the town).
In contrast to the Chamber of Commerce, we specifically focus on the concerns of our three villages. You get to know your neighboring businesses on a personal level.
The name "Christmas Prelude™" is trademarked and only KBA members are granted license to use "Christmas Prelude™" in advertising and promotions.
Who We Are:
Secretary - Sandie Tynik, Stem to Stern
Past President - David Betses, Compliments Gallery
Sally Bates, Seashore Trolley Museum
Debbie Maucieri, Maine-ly Drizzle
Mike Severance, Bay of Maine Boats
How To Join:
Contact any Board Member if you would like more information or to join our organization. Annual Dues are $245 and include listings with unlimited photographs on both kennebunkport.org and christmasprelude.com, a listing in our yearly Visitor's Guide, and inclusion in our Prelude Schedule of Events (plus advertising and event sponsorship opportunities). Membership is limited to businesses in Kennebunkport, Cape Porpoise, and Lower Village Kennebunk.
How To Donate:
The Christmas Prelude™ Annual Fireworks Show is funded entirely by generous donations from local businesses, residents and visitors.