LINCOLN, Maine — As many as 1,800 people are expected downtown to help usher in the holiday season when the Festival of Lights parade and Christmas tree lighting take place tonight, the town’s events coordinator said Thursday.
The parade will kick off at 6:30 p.m. Friday with marching groups assembling at the Public Works garage on Park Avenue from 6 to 6:20 p.m., events coordinator Shelly Crosby said. Groups interested in participating can register at the garage by 6:20 p.m.
The parade will run along West Broadway and onto Main Street before small floats turn onto Burton Street and larger ones continue onto Adams Street. The parade disbands on Fleming Street. This will help limit traffic congestion, Crosby said.
“Last year some of our larger floats had a hard time getting into that space [Burton Street near the town office] and when they did, there was nowhere for them to go, so we will make that change,” Crosby said Thursday.
The parade starting time was pushed back to 6:30 p.m. to allow Lincoln Paper and Tissue LLC workers to make the shift change without traffic interruption and to allow downtown merchants and customers time to do business, Crosby said.
Parade colors this year are silver and purple and can be found atop the Lee A. Rush Memorial Gazebo at West Broadway and Main Street, Crosby said.
After the parade, town officials and pupils from the Ella P. Burr School will sing carols and the town’s huge tree will be lit. Enfield Road residents David and Melanie Dumont donated the tree.
“When we looked at a blue spruce and checked its circumference, it was way too large to bring to the Main Street area and put it up safely,” Crosby said.
Workers from FA Peabody Insurance Co. donated hundreds of glow sticks that will be passed out to children, and Health Access Network workers will offer free hot chocolate and cookies to participants, Crosby said. The Rev. Roy Richardson and members of Lincoln’s Marine Corps League will offer blessings to residents and military service personnel.
Downtown decorating was finished Monday with help from town firefighters and workers from Larry Ham Construction Co., who hung the lights and ornaments, Crosby said.
Santa Claus will appear at the end of the parade and accompany participants to the tree lighting, Crosby said.
The town’s library will hold an open house all day Friday, and Santa Claus will appear at Breakfast with Santa at Mattanawcook Academy in Lincoln from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. Saturday. The public is invited. Tickets cost $5 for adults, $3 for children. Only 300 tickets are available and may be purchased at the town office. Ruhl Photography will offer free pictures with Santa.
Businesses already have donated more than $500 to the parade, which is funded partially by the town and costs about $1,400. Anyone interested in volunteering at any event or making donations can contact Crosby at 794-3372.
The Festival of Lights is sponsored by the Lincoln Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce.