BANGOR, Maine — Thousands of spectators are expected to be on hand to watch Saturday’s annual Festival of Lights Parade through downtown, marking the official arrival of the holiday season.
The nighttime parade will be the beacon in the dark that heralds the joyous nature of this time of year. The theme for the parade is “Making Dreams Real.”
The parade will step off at 4:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 6.
“There will be 46 units in the parade, including the 85-member Madawaska High School Band,” said Barbara McDade, who coordinated the event.
The parade will feature horses and minihorses, Frosty the Snowman arriving by limousine, a small train chugging in and out of the parade, a Charlie Brown Christmas float entered by Cub Scout Troop 313, A Dreams Can Come True float from the Bangor Baptist Church’s Upstart Program, a float with area clog dancers aboard, a Dream Big float dreamed up by the Next Generation Theatre of Brewer, the BangPop float with participants dressed in fantasy costumes channeling “The Lord of the Rings,” and the Bangor Rotary float, The Polar Express.
“Santa will arrive in a sleigh at the end of the parade, with several elves to help light the tree downtown,” McDade said.
Parade lineup begins at 2 p.m. along Front Street from May to Railroad streets.
The parade begins on Railroad Street, turns right onto Main Street, crosses Union Street, proceeds along Main Street through downtown, crosses Hammond and State streets onto Central Street, turns right on Harlow, and crosses State Street to Exchange Street, ending by Bank of America.
Exchange Street will be closed to regular traffic.
Music begins at 3 p.m. at the reviewing stand on Main Street. The Bangor Band will be among those offering songs and carols of the season.
Hot chocolate and other hot drinks will be available for sale to help ward off the chill. Parade participants and spectators are advised to dress warmly.
Sponsors of the parade are the Bangor Rotary, Oxford Networks and WABI.
More holiday lights, from Presque Isle to Boothbay Harbor
Friday, Dec. 5
Boothbay Harbor — Silent auction of Christmas trees noon to 6 p.m. Friday at the Opera House on Townsend Avenue. For information call 633-7439.
Camden — Community businesses and organizations sponsor free festivities beginning Friday and running through the weekend.
Freeport — The town’s most famous holiday tradition includes horse-drawn carriage rides, photos with Santa, a talking Christmas tree, strolling carolers and a holiday tuba concert. For information, call 865-1212.
Southwest Harbor — The town tree will be lit and Santa Claus will pay a visit at 5:30 p.m. Friday on the village green. There will be hayrides at the post office parking lot, as well as a bonfire. Refreshments will be provided. Caroling will take place at 6 p.m. at the Harborhouse. For more information call 244-3713.
Thomaston — Tree lighting on the town green along Main Street and live music kick off the celebration Friday afternoon and evening. A free holiday open house at Montpelier, the General Henry Knox Museum, takes place 1 to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and the town library will hold a craft fair 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Watts Hall on Main Street. For information, call 562-2529.
Saturday, Dec. 6
Belfast — Events from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. all day at several locations around town, culminating in the lighting of the tree at 5 p.m. at City Hall.
Farmington — Chester Greenwood Day celebrates the inventor of the earmuff starting with a parade at 11 a.m. downtown. Chili contest, gingerbread house contest, holiday wreath sale, other activities follow at the Titcomb House. For information call 778-4215.
Greenville — Christmas at Moosehead features the annual Inn Walk, an opportunity to tour the town’s inns and bed and breakfasts decorated for the season. For information, call 695-2702.
Presque Isle — The Holiday Light Parade caps a day of activities. Visit www.pichamber.com for details. The parade begins at 7 p.m. Saturday on North Street and ends at Gentile Hall on the University of Maine at Presque Isle campus where refreshments will be served.