Today Portland Downtown is excited to share details about our 2020 slate of holiday events – all of which have been adapted in response to the ongoing pandemic. Our goal is to safely bring holiday cheer and economic activity to downtown – and we hope that you'll join the fun! In the coming weeks, please stay tuned for updates and reminders – but here's a preview of what's coming up.
In lieu of our traditional crowd-heavy tree lighting event, Portland Downtown and Hood Eggnog® are launching something all new this year: a 24/7 live-streaming “tree cam” overlooking Monument Square. Modeled after websites such as WindowSwap, the tree cam will create a virtual window so that visitors locally – and across the globe – can enjoy the illuminated tree and its surroundings anytime, anywhere throughout the holiday season. Whether it’s at home, in the office, or in person – one of downtown’s most spectacular holiday sights will be just a click away!

In addition to allowing viewers to catch a glimpse of the tree in any light (dawn, dusk, or night) or any weather (snow, fog, or rain), the tree cam will also capture exciting moments such as the tree’s arrival to Monument Square (tentatively scheduled for Thursday, November 19), as well as its installation by the City of Portland Forestry crew, Keeley Crane Service, and Shaw Brothers Construction. While there will not be a scheduled “countdown” to the lighting of the tree, it will be illuminated on the morning of Black Friday (November 27).

Through eblasts and social media posts, Portland Downtown will frequently remind our friends and fans to “check in” on the tree throughout the winter season. The tree is especially beautiful after a gentle New England snowfall – and our virtual window (which can easily be cast to a smart TV) will be the perfect backdrop as you’re wrapping presents or enjoying Hood Eggnog® around the fireplace.

Portland Downtown thanks Hood Eggnog® – our longtime tree lighting Presenting Sponsor – for making this year’s pivot project possible. Thanks also to the Portland Public Library for hosting the tree cam; the City of Portland for selecting, transporting, and installing the tree; and Filipp Kotsishevskiy (Tall Story Pictures) and Kaycee Stevens for their technology magic. Please note: as soon as the tree cam goes live in mid-November, we will let you know!
It will come as no surprise that Merry Madness – Portland Downtown’s signature holiday shopping event – will look a lot different this year. While we won’t be able to throw a big kickoff party and pack stores with crowds, we’ve developed an alternative plan that will allow for safe and fun holiday shopping & dining experiences over a four-week period. It’s all possible thanks to our new Merry Madness Passport.

So, what is it? The Merry Madness Passport is a pocket-sized booklet filled with in-store and online deals, discounts, and special offers at over 60 participating downtown businesses. The Passport makes it fun and easy for shoppers to explore downtown, support the local businesses they love, discover new gems, and find treasures for everyone on their list. Adding to the fun: shoppers can collect official Merry Madness Passport stamps throughout the season. Passport holders who collect 10 stamps or more will be eligible to win some amazing raffle prize packages curated by Portland Downtown.

Best of all, the Passport can be used throughout the entire month of December (December 1 to December 31, 2020). This helps reduce big crowds and allows for flexible, safe shopping over a period of four weeks. This year, Merry Madness is not a sprint. It’s a merry-thon!

Thanks to our generous sponsors – Hyatt Place Portland-Old Port and Machias Savings Bank – Merry Madness Passports are available free of charge to 1500 lucky shoppers. Passports can be pre-ordered online here – while supplies last.
We all need a little extra sparkle in our lives this year, and that’s why Portland Downtown has called upon local businesses to “deck the halls” in spectacular fashion. Over 40 downtown shops & restaurants will decorate their storefront windows with eye-catching creations – reminding visitors near and far that the holiday spirit is alive and well in Portland, Maine. Our official judges panel will select winners in four categories (Best Overall, Best Use of Merchandise, Best Theme, and Most Original) and – in early December – community members can cast a vote for their favorite displays on Portland Downtown’s Facebook Page. Last year’s Best Overall Winner was The Art Department at 611 Congress Street. Who will take the top honor this year?
The holidays in downtown Portland simply would not be complete without Pandora’s Winter Lights. We’re happy to announce that Congress Street, Commercial Street, and iconic downtown parks ­— including Longfellow Square, Tommy’s Park, Boothby Square, Lincoln Park, Pleasant Street Park, and Congress Square Park — will once again be illuminated by a kaleidoscope of fantastical colors & shapes crafted by visionary artist Pandora LaCasse. These dazzling displays “wow” residents and visitors alike and have become a true signature of downtown Portland during the holiday season. Pandora’s Winter Lights will be illuminated on Black Friday — and they will keep the city merry, bright, and beautiful through February.