Waterville area communities are preparing for the holiday season with both old and new traditions, including parades, tree lightings, fairs and more.

Unity is holding its first official tree lighting in at least 50 years. The Yuletide Tree Lighting, sponsored by the Unity Business eXchange, or UBx, is scheduled from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday at the corner of Depot and Main streets in front of the Unity Historical Society. Two trees will be lit, one tree representing Christmas and the other Hanukkah, said Jon Wadick, a UBx member.

Unity Selectman Penny Sampson said she can’t recall a time there’s been a tree lighting in the 50 years she’s lived in town. A tradition the town did observe was hanging candles and candy cane decorations on telephone polls, she said, but those items were lost over time — until now. The Unity Barn Raisers found the decorations and had them rewired, so they’ll light the town once again.

Sampson said she hopes to see some of the businesses in the village decorate in the holiday spirit.

Sunday evening’s events also include a visit from Santa Claus, caroling and free cookies, cocoa and treats at the Unity Union Church. Wadick said UBx is sponsoring the event to bring more people to the area and “reinvigorate” the town for the holiday season. According to a press release, a number of local businesses and town departments chipped in to make the event possible, including the Unity Fire Department, Younity Winery and Boy Scout Troop #233.

In Oakland, the town is preparing for its second annual Christmas Parade on Friday. The parade will start at 5:30 p.m. and travel from Atwood Primary School down Main Street and cross over to West Pleasant Street ending at Williams Elementary School.

Kathy Paradis, one of the parade organizers, said there were about 20 floats last year. She’s asked about 20 people to participate again this year, and so far about seven have confirmed that they will bring floats. If someone or a group wants to have a float in the parade, they should call Paradis at the Town Office at 465-7357 by Thursday.

Last year the “streets were full” of people watching the parade of lights, Paradis said, and this year she expects just as many onlookers or more.

“We’re getting quite a few phone calls from people who are interested because they really enjoyed it last year,” she said.

The town is hosting the parade in conjunction with the downtown business committee, which is holding its annual storefront Christmas decoration competition. The theme this year for the stores and the parade is “Winter Wonderland.” Winners of the storefront decoration contest will be announced the week after the parade, Paradis said.

The town will hold its annual tree lighting at 6 p.m. near TD Bank on Main Street after the parade. The Oakland Area Business Association first started the tradition of the tree lighting about 30 years ago, and the town’s Parks and Recreation Department has kept it alive since the business organization dissolved. The department’s director, Eric Seekins, said the girls varsity lacrosse team from Messalonskee High School, winners of the 2016 Class A state championship, will light the tree this year.

This will also be the first year for Oakland’s new tree donated by Patrick Phair, who owns Lakeside Landscape in Belgrade, Seekins said.

“The other one had died on us,” he said.

Seekins expects a good crowd for the event, which will also feature live music from the high school music department and a visit from Santa.

Vassalboro’s annual Christmas tree lighting is also at 6 p.m. Friday. Santa will light the tree at the Olde Mill in North Vassalboro while both girl and boy scouts serve cookies from Heavenly Delights Bakery. The event is sponsored by Ray Breton, who owns the Olde Mill and sponsors a number of community events throughout the year, as well as the Vassalboro Business Association and Maine Savings FCU.

This is the third year the event has been held at the Olde Mill, said Linda Titus, spokesperson for the business association. The tree lighting was previously held at the Fire Station, but the mill is “more comfortable,” Titus said.

On Saturday the Vassalboro Community School is hosting breakfast with Santa from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. for $5 per person, and the Friends Meeting of Vassalboro is hosting a Spirit of Christmas craft, food and vendor fair at the Grange Hall from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

While the town of Fairfield is not holding a celebration, the Lawrence Public Library is holding a children’s Christmas event from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Dec. 15. Santa will be at the library to talk with children and hand out snacks and small gifts, such as books and craft kits, said Alyssa Patterson, the children’s librarian. The library will also have carolers and a craft set up for people to do.

In Winslow, St. John Catholic School is hosting its annual Christmas Fair 4-8 p.m. Friday, featuring a spaghetti supper, and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, featuring a barbecue lunch and live auction.

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