BANGOR, Maine — Seven-year-old Georgia Marsceill took Saturday’s Bangor Festival of Lights Parade as a personal challenge.
Besides wanting to behave well for her grandmother — Santa is always watching, especially at this time of year — and to keep her two sisters in line like any older sister would, Georgia needed to overcome something: Her fear of clowns.
While it’s probably quite a stretch to say that Georgia is coulrophobic, she did say that the last time she saw clowns, they scared her.
“I don’t want to be scared of them,” Georgia said solemnly as her sisters, fraternal twins, 5-year-olds Piper and Ziba Marsceill, looked on.
Georgia didn’t get a chance to test her courage, possibly because the parade didn’t appear to have any clowns, but as holiday parades go, it had a whole bunch of most everything else. Seventy floats from central and northern Maine participated in the parade through downtown at dusk on Saturday, Roland Narofsky, chairman of the Bangor Rotary Club’s parade committee, said.
The lighting of the tree at West Market Square followed the parade.
Narofsky was thankful that this year’s parade suffered none of the snowy weather that aborted the 2014 effort.
“Last year was the first time, I think, that we ever had to cancel the event,” Narofsky said Saturday. “That was a disappointment to a lot of people.”
“Without the wind blowing, everything is staying in place,” he added. “It’s quite a relief.”
Crowd estimates weren’t available, but Narofsky said the event draws 10,000 to 15,000 people annually.
This year’s parade had some new features. Several businesses — Bagel Central, the Charles Inn and the Maine Discovery Museum — held events indoors during the parade, Narofsky said.
“We want to expand our downtown community involvement to make this event more than just a parade,” he said.
The Marsceill’s grandmother, Janet Trowbridge, said the parade has been something of a blessing for the way that it engages her granddaughters.
“They are always a joy,” Trowbridge said, “but you always have to keep an eye on them. They can get away from you so fast if you’re not careful.”
The rotary club’s volunteer judges awarded six organizations for the excellence of the floats in the parade. The winners are:
— Outstanding Non-Profit Entry, Bangor Rotary Club
— Outstanding Youth Entry, Boy Scouts Pack 6 Bangor
— Outstanding Commercial Entry, Lane Construction
— Outstanding Performing Entry is Morita’s School of Dance
— Outstanding Adult Entry is Citizens of Maine, LLC
— Outstanding Band Entry is Pride of Madawaska Marching Band