PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Fat, light snowflakes were falling. The sidewalks were lined with people, and the Christmas lights were so bright and plentiful that children stood gazing in open-mouthed awe.
What sounds like a scene out of a movie was reality in Presque Isle on Saturday evening, as thousands crowded along Main Street to watch the Presque Isle Holiday and Light Parade.
The event was sponsored by the Presque Isle Area Chamber of Commerce and attracted approximately 60 floats, according to Theresa Fowler, the executive director of the Chamber.
There were Grinches and snowmen, pageant queens and majestic horses. At one point, the crowd cheered wildly as a float shot resplendent confetti all over the street, peppering the white roadways with bits of pink and purple.
Kim Martin of Caribou attended the event with a group of friends. She had stopped going for several years after her children grew up, but said she was glad she came back this year.
“Everything is so beautiful,” she said. “I can’t imagine how long it took people to get these together.”
Ann Knudsen of Perth Andover, New Bruswick, also came with friends to watch the parade.
“My friends and I and their children come every year,” she said Saturday evening. “We wouldn’t miss it.”
During the parade, Catholic Charities of Maine workers walked beside their float and gathered nonperishable food items to distribute to the needy.
Students and employees at Northern Maine Community College dressed as elves and handed out more than 1,000 books to kids of all ages enjoying the parade. This is the fifth year that the book distribution has taken place at the event.
Before the parade started, officials at the University of Maine at Presque Isle gathered with students to light the campus Christmas tree. After the parade, everyone was invited back to UMPI’s Gentile Hall for hot chocolate.