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Holiday light parade entries dazzle downtown Houlton to celebrate the season

HOULTON, Maine — The holiday season has begun in the Shiretown following Saturday’s arrival of Santa Claus to officially illuminate the town’s Christmas tree in Market Square.

A Friday storm dropped just enough snow on southern Aroostook County to give Houlton’s tree an extra bit of sparkle as a good crowd filled the downtown to take in this year’s parade. 

The parade was one of the largest in recent memory in terms of numbers of floats entered and lights used. Many fully embraced this year’s theme of “Christmas in Toyland” as several entries featured a large assortment of toys.

Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jane Torres said she never knows for certain how many floats will actually be in the parade each year. While some participants pre-register, sometimes those who have signed up do not show up if the weather is bad. Conversely, when the weather is mild, more entries show up on the night of the event.

“It was the largest Light Parade I have seen in the eight years I have been at the Chamber,” Torres said. “Of course we all know that not everyone registers for the parade, so it was a wonderful surprise to have an additional 15 (floats) who just showed up.”

Danny Toby, driving in the town of Houlton’s grader tractor, said he used more than 4,000 lights to illuminate the large piece of machinery.

“This year’s entries did not disappoint with lots of music and some very creative floats including the town (of Houlton’s) grader, Steelstone’s paver with a life-sized tree and gifts, and the Three Kings on horseback following Mary and Joseph in the manger,” Torres said. “Thankfully the cold and blustery weather didn’t seem to discourage anyone.”

Houlton Power Sports won in the “best use of theme” category, while “most unique” went to Steelstone for its asphalt truck.

After illuminating the tree, Santa met with a number of children eager to whisper their Christmas wish list at the Serendipitous Dragonfly on Main Street.

HOULTON, Maine — November 29, 2021 — Betty Marie’s Sweet Shop float in Houlton’s Holiday Light Parade featured recreations of a number of tasty treats. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — November 29, 2021 — Many of this years floats fully embraced the theme of “Christmas in Toyland” with colorfully decorated packages all illuminated with thousands of lights. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — November 29, 2021 — Houlton Fire Department’s truck did not disappoint in Saturday’s Holiday Light Parade in downtown Houlton. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — November 29, 2021 — Houlton’s grader tractor proved to be a popular hit during Saturday’s Holiday Light parade with more than 4,000 lights attached. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — November 29, 2021 — The Community Living Association’s float featured a number of children dressed in costumes. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — November 29, 2021 — The Three Wisemen, followed by Mary and Joseph, were featured in this year’s Holiday Light Parade in Houlton. (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

HOULTON, Maine — November 29, 2021 — Santa Claus powers on the town’s Christmas Tree in Market Square Saturday evening,  much to the delight of the many who gathered downtown to witness the event, (Joseph Cyr | Houlton Pioneer Times)

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