Old Orchard Beach

We all know and love Old Orchard Beach, Maine, for several reasons. Fireworks displays every week during the summer. Live music along the Pier. Palace Playland. Pier fries. Lisa's Pizza. The 'Swick. The Pier itself in general.

But tucked into that popular Maine town whose tradition is to be generally overrun by tourists every single summer, is a small village with a tradition of its own.

Adventuring in the Moment via YouTube / Photo by Vicky Ng on Unsplash
Adventuring in the Moment via YouTube / Photo by Vicky Ng on Unsplash

Ocean Park Maine

Just down Route 9 from the Old Orchard Beach Pier, Ocean Park is as much a destination for tourists as OOB is, but it's also that type of village "where everyone knows your name" and has a real, genuine, family/community feel to it.

And while their annual sand sculpture contest and parade around the 4th of July every year are popular, there may be no bigger, brighter, more delicious tradition than the one that helps welcome in "the dog days of summer" at the beginning of every August.

Illumination Night

The 36th annual Illumination Night takes place in Ocean Park on Saturday, August 3. Kicked off in the morning by an all-day art show and sale on the Library Lawn by Saco Bay Artists, the "walk about" kicks off around 8p and follows the always-popular Strawberry Shortcake Festival.

It's essentially a Christmas light display walkthrough, but with a very summer vibe to it. Instead of lit silhouettes of Santa and reindeer, it's pink flamingos and palm trees, and tons more.

And, especially for those with dogs or veterans with PTSD in their lives, it provides an alternative to enjoying summer light shows without having to worry about the anxiety that fireworks shows can bring.

The full schedule for Ocean Park's 36th annual Illumination Night can be found on its official website.

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