Parade lights up the holdiays

14 years ago

Houlton Pioneer Times Photo/Joseph Cyr
NE-CLR-lite-dc1-pt-48SANTA’S HERE! — Saturday’s Holiday Light Parade in Houlton, sponsored by the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce marked the official arrival of the shopping season complete with a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus. Officials estimated more than 3,000 people lined the streets of Houlton for the parade.

By Joseph Cyr
Staff Writer

    HOULTON — A light afternoon snow provided the perfect backdrop for Saturday’s annual Holiday Light Parade in Houlton and residents turned out in droves to watch the annual yuletide tradition. Children played in the new-fallen snow as they waited patiently for the parade to wind its way from the Houlton Shopping Plaza, down North Street and up Market Square.
    According to Lori Weston, executive director for the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce, this year’s parade proved to be a huge success.
    “The weather cooperated perfectly with a light snow throughout the day and then calm for the parade participants,” Weston said.
    The Houlton Police Department estimated that more than 3,000 people watched the parade. The theme of this year’s event was “Christmas in Lights,” which allowed for an open interpretation of the theme. Some of the more elaborate entries included a recreation of “The Nightmare Before Christmas” by the Linneus Haunted Hayride.
NE-clr-Lite-dc2-pt-48LAST MINUTE FIX  — Debbie Benn makes some last minute adjustments to North Country Cruisers’ float which also served as a collection point for Toys for Tots.
    Following the parade, Santa Claus lit the Town Tree and visited with the children who were eager to share their wish lists with him and Mrs. Claus.
    “It was a great parade and great crowds lining the streets along the whole parade route from the Houlton Shopping Plaza down North Street through Market Square and up Main Street to the Rec. Center,” said Debbie Nesbitt, one of the parade organizers for the Chamber. “The parade stopped in Market Square to let Santa and Mrs. Claus out so they could help in lighting the town Christmas tree and then they stayed downtown to meet with all the children to hear their Christmas desires after which there was hot chocolate and cookies for the kids that was donated by Dunkin’ Donuts and the Pastry Corner.”
NE-clr-lite-dc10-pt-48TOWN TREE — The town Christmas Tree in Market Square was officially lit by Santa Claus Saturday evening.
     Entries in this year’s parade were: Houlton Police Department, North Country Cruisers, Houlton Rotary Club, TD Bank, United Vets, Houlton Savings Bank, Wee Steps, Machias Savings Bank, Maine Forest Service, Sheldon Simon, Boy Scout Pack No. 155, Linneus Haunted Hayride, Mike Marshall, Ray Carmichael, Del Hastey, 4-H Club, Hill/DeMarco Families, Tim Humphey, Winslow/Nisbett Families, U.S.Border Patrol, Houlton Fire Department Aerial Ladder Truck and HFD/HPD ATV with Santa and Mrs. Claus.
    The judging of the entries ended with many of the floats in close running for the prizes. There was only four points that separated the second through fifth spots for float entries, Nesbitt said.
    Winning in the Non-Float Category were: 1, HFD Aerial Ladder Truck; 2, Mike Marshall, member of North Country Cruisers; and 3, Tim Humphrey.
NE-clr-Lite-dc8-pt-48STORY TIME — Bernadette Beaulieu waves to the crowd as she reads from “The Night Before Christmas.”
    Winners in the Float Category were: 1, Winslow/Nisbett Families; 2, Del Hastey, member of North Country Cruisers; and 3, Houlton Savings Bank.
    “It was great participation with lots of work that went into these entries,” Nesbitt said. “You could tell that people spent a lot of time on them.  One of the participants told me he’d spent three days decorating his entry.”

NE-clr-Lite-dc3-pt-48REINDEER FRIEND — Lilie Henderson of Houlton stands behind an illuminated reindeer.


SANTA CHAT — Mimi Weston of Houlton, right, tells Santa what she wants for Christmas.

NE-clr-lite-dc12-pt-48ILLUMINATED — This year’s parade featured many-colored vehicles decked out in a variety of holiday lights.

NE-CLR-Lite-dc6-pt-48SANTA’S HELPER — Kristi McAtee donned a spiffy reindeer hat for Saturday’s light parade as she passed out goodies.