WATERVILLE — Santa Claus is coming to the city in slightly more than a week, arriving on his sleigh during the 45th annual Parade of Lights to usher in the holiday season and open his mini-village, Kringleville, at The Center.

Organizers of the parade say that so far, seven to 10 fewer participants than last year have signed up for the parade, so additional entries are welcome.

“We are always looking for more floats for the Parade of Lights. It’s a great opportunity for local businesses, community organizations and churches to kick off the holiday season and spirit,” parade coordinator Alex Small said Tuesday.

The 6 p.m. parade, organized by Waterville Main Street, and the opening of Kringleville are scheduled for Nov. 28, the day after Thanksgiving. The events typically draw about 15,000 people to downtown.

Groups that would like to be in the parade should go to www.kringleville.com and fill out an application, Small said.

Parade rules mandate that floats and vehicles be decorated with lights and that no one dresses as Santa Claus.

“There’s only one Santa,” Small said. “Santa stops during the parade and gets off the float right at Castonguay Square and lights the Christmas tree. The parade takes a kind of mini-break.”

Parade participants line up at Head of Falls off Front Street. The parade turns right onto Front Street, left on Union Street near the fire station and then south on College Avenue. It continues to Main Street downtown and after Santa gets off at Castonguay Square, proceeds south on Main, turns north on Front and ends at Head of Falls, Small said.

After Santa lights the giant evergreen tree, he will go into Kringleville in The Center next to Castonguay Square and meet children. The public may view Santa with the children through a large window facing Main Street.

In The Forum room at The Center next to Kringleville, Mrs. Claus will host her workshop. The Waterville Main Street Program and Kringleville committee will set up crafts there for children to do while waiting to see Santa. The community group, REM, offers cookies and hot chocolate to children, according to REM executive co-directors Faye Nicholson and Jackie Dalton.

REM, which pays for the bulk of the rental space Kringleville uses, will be selling wreaths for all seasons to raise money for that rental, and Waterville Main Street will sell baskets. REM also sets up the Winter Yuletide Village, a display in the southernmost window of The Center off Main Street.

Jorgensen’s Cafe on Main Street will be open until 9 p.m., according to employee Ina Lewin.

Special items will be for sale, including candy cane cocoa, Christmas cookies and children’s treats. The Waterville Senior High School Select Choir will perform in the cafe, according to Lewin.

Mark Huard, promotional and media representative for the parade and Kringleville, takes photos of Santa with children. The photos may be purchased for $6 each.

“The Parade of Lights is such a special event for families and children,” Huard said Tuesday. “Everyone is working really hard to make this another successful holiday season at Kringleville. It’s the most wonderful time of the year. To see the look on the eyes of the children when Santa arrives is priceless.”

Santa awards three ribbons to floats before the parade starts with first place being “Santa’s Choice.” The winner of that ribbon gets to decorate and light the float Santa rides on next year, according to Small.

Santa greets children at Kringleville throughout the holiday season. His schedule is posted on the Kringleville website.

The rain date for the parade is Sunday, Nov. 30.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17


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