WATERVILLE — An Oakland grandmother was a bundle of Christmas spirit Saturday in Waterville for the second annual Joy to the Ville holiday celebration.

Wrapped in layers of fleece, quilts and blankets — hoodie and all — Mary-Anne LaMarre was literally a bundle herself, as she sat in a beach chair waiting for Santa to open Kringleville in Castonguay Square.

“I’m waiting in line to see Santa,” LaMarre, 54, said. “I wanted to be first. I have nine grandchildren and they’re little; they range in age from 2 months to 10 years old and they want to see Santa and I don’t want them to wait in the cold.”

It was cold, too — 18 degrees outside by about 11:30 a.m., some 90 minutes before Kringleville was to open.

“I’m fine,” she said. “Knowing that the children won’t have to wait in the cold makes it all worthwhile.”

Activities for the second annual event included a free family-friendly holiday film at Railroad Square Cinema, a free HD theater broadcast at the Waterville Opera House, free art activities with the Colby College Museum of Art at Common Street Arts, story time with special guests at the Waterville Public Library, shopping discounts, and deals and free goodies at local shops and restaurants.


Volunteers at the Waterville Public Library made holiday cards for nursing home residents. There was free holiday card and ornament making at Common Street Arts in their new location in the Hathaway building, among many other activities.

The scene at the Loyal Biscuit Co. a pet food and toy shop on Main Street, was equally festive, with dogs on leashes leading their humans around the store looking for treats and a slug of water from an available bowl on the floor.

There was a cat in the window, inside, ignoring the goings on.

Goodies included pet-friendly eggnog, which according to store manager Adam Balvo, has been enjoyed by many visiting pooches. He said the store was offering 15 percent off all non-food items Saturday — toys, treats, harnesses and litter.

“We’re offering hot cocoa and cookies for our human customers and doggie eggnog for our dog customers,” Balvo said. “We have some dehydrated dog nog that we offer.”

It’s made from goat’s milk, eggs, honey and cinnamon.


“We’ve already had a couple today that have cleaned their bowls,” he said. “They like it a lot.”

Nikki Busmanis, of Waterville, was shopping for dog toys and other items Saturday with her daughter, Sadie Williams, 11, of Waterville, and her friends, Leah Brann, 12, of Oakland and Dovelyn Russell, 11, of Sidney, for the Joy of the Ville.

“We’ve been bouncing around to all of the different businesses and stores downtown,” she said. “We’re Christmas shopping for the dogs.”

Daughter Sadie said they tried to stop at as many shops and stores as they could.

“We went to Holy Cannoli to decorate cookies, then we went to Itali-ah (restaurant and market) and got melted gellato,” she said.

Over at The Center on Main Street, where Colby College and Waterville Creates! are working to transform the building into a thriving art and film center, Emilie Knight, of Fairfield, the community programs coordinator for the Children’s Discovery Museum, was setting up a pop-up shop for the festivities.


“We are setting up our mobile museum — a fun pop-up, interactive activity exhibit,” Knight said. “Today, as part of Joy to the Ville, we invite children and their families to come in and just interact with what we have here.”

The display includes a giant geo-board, where children can draw with “stretchy string,” ball ramps and other building activities and interactive, liquid tile mats. The museum plans to relocate from Augusta to Waterville, Knight said.

“Waterville has a lot going on with a really dynamic downtown and we’re excited to be part of that,” she said.

Free holiday green screen “Winter Fun Photos” were offered at the Chase Forum in the Alfond Commons on Main Street.

“We have 30 different backgrounds,” Jon Graham, of Waterville, said of the images that included Santa and Will Ferrell as Buddy from “Elf.” “I use an app on my iPad to use the green screen and I put whatever background that people want. It’s been pretty steady.”

The finished photos are to be posted on the Waterville Creates! Facebook page.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: