PRESQUE ISLE – Time flies when you’re having fun. And such is the case with the city’s Holiday Light Parade, with Dec. 6 marking it’s 19th year of spreading holiday cheer in the Star City. The event, hosted by the Presque isle Area Chamber of Commerce, promises to be another festive, fun occasion – a time for family and friends to gather to ‘oooh’ and ‘aaah’ over the creative displays of lights, decorations and costumes.
“Once again this year the parade route will begin on North Street, with lineup beginning at 5:30 p.m. Entrants will head south towards the University of Maine at Presque Isle,” said Theresa Fowler, executive director of the PIACC.
Co-chairs of this year’s parade committee are Otis May and Brian Colton.
As with past parades, judging will take place, with awards presented to the winners in various categories.
“Judging will begin at 6:15 p.m., with trophies awarded before the parade begins,” said Fowler.
There’s still time to register entries for this year’s parade. Floats can be registered by contacting the PIACC at 764-6561.
Parents and guardians are asked to keep a watchful eye on children, for safety’s sake.
“Parents, please be advised that children need to maintain a safe distance from vehicles and floats in the parade. We appreciate your cooperation,” said Fowler.
According to Fowler, participants are asked to refrain from throwing candy.
“There will be no throwing of candy allowed. If you wish to give out candy, we would ask that you have walkers handing the candy out to the children,” she said.
Over the years, Fowler said, this parade has gained enormous popularity with area merchants and spectators.
“The numbers grow each and every year,” said Fowler.
Activities actually begin in Presque Isle hours before the parade kicks off.
“You can start your day at the Wintergreen Arts Center in the morning with gingerbread house construction. Save a spot for yourself by calling the Chamber. Or spend an afternoon shopping and supporting local businesses,” said Fowler.
The University of Maine at Presque Isle also has some fun activities lined up that day.
“Stop at UMPI for a visit to Santa’s Workshop from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., sponsored by Klub Kampus in the Campus Center multi-purpose room. Have a photo taken with Santa and enjoy games, movies, face painting, elves and gifts for lucky winners,” said Fowler.
Admission is free.
Also in the afternoon, children are invited to the James School for a lesson in cookie decorating.
“The James School is having a Christmas open house from 1-3 p.m. on Dec. 6. Admission is free, but we are asking everyone to bring a non-perishable item for our Christmas tree to benefit Feed the County,” said Fowler.
Refreshments will be provided by the Spragueville Homemakers Extension.
“While there, children will have an opportunity to decorate their own cookie and make a Christmas ornament. For more information, contact 227-0388,” said Fowler.
The Presque Isle Elks Club will serve as host for anyone with an appetite prior to the parade.
“Enjoy chicken stew and hot chocolate at the Presque Isle Elks Club prior to the 2008 Holiday Light Parade,” Fowler said.
The event is free, but donations are welcome.
The day will culminate with the annual Holiday Light Parade through town at 7 p.m.
“The parade will start at North Street and proceed down Main Street to Gentile Hall, at UMPI, where hot refreshments will be served. The general public is invited to drop by to warm up,” said Fowler. “Hot chocolate will be served at President Don Zillman’s home, and the lighting of the Christmas tree will take place after the parade at UMPI.”