ORLAND, Maine — Luminaries once were bonfires lighting the path of the faithful to churches during the Christmas season.
This year, the Lights of Orland luminaries will be small candles lighting the roads of Orland village in remembrance of a local boy who was killed earlier this year in a car accident on Route 1. According to organizer Cindy Kimball, this year’s celebration will be dedicated to Mark W. McDonald, the 14-year-old boy who was killed in July while he was riding a bicycle with friends and was struck by a vehicle on Route 1.
The boy lived in Orland village, and his death made an impact on the close-knit community.
“The neighborhood really got together when he was killed,” Kimball said Wednesday. “They really tried to help the family out. We thought that this year, we would dedicate the Lights of Orland to him.”
Kimball and her husband, Al, owners of the Orland House Bed and Breakfast in the village, started the event several years ago. It started small, with just a few small candles set in sand inside milk jugs placed at entrances to the village.
The event has grown, and now, with the help of community volunteers, they plan to set out about 500 luminaries throughout the village area. The holiday lights will line the road along Route 175 from Route 1 into the village, across the Orland River Bridge. Luminaries also will line Naramissic Drive from 175 to Route 1, including the steps to the Orland United Methodist Church.
In the past, Kimball said, they have used small votive candles, but as the event grew, found that they often didn’t last long enough for them to complete lighting all the luminaries. This year, they are switching to 2-inch candles and are looking for volunteers willing to donate some of those candles.
This year, the Lights of Orland will start at about 3:30 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 18, at the Orland House B&B. Anyone interested in donating candles or in participating can contact Kimball at 469-0077.