Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

NORWAY — Once Santa Claus rolls into town, things begin to look a lot like Christmas.

On Saturday morning, during the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce’s annual Christmas Parade, Santa rode down Main Street in Norway through to Market Square in Paris.

Olive Wall, 3, of Oxford, said her favorite part of the parade was Santa Claus. She also got a glimpse of Spiderman, Iron Man, and Captain America on the “Heroes for Hope Float.”

Also, the abundance of firetrucks was a highlight. As was the candy that was thrown from Santa’s sleigh

“Some years, my business enters a float as well. Some years, we’ve been in the parade. This year, with family in from out of town it was easier to be spectators. It’s fun to play both roles,” said Jesse Wall, owner of Tru Strength Athletics in Norway.

Isaac Yates chews on a piece of candy as Chief Dennis Yates drives the Norway Fire Department pickup that was pulling Santa and Mrs. Claus during Saturday’s Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade . Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

According to Wall, the parade is a great way to kick-off the holiday season and also show support for downtown Norway and downtown Paris.

“We love downtown Norway … last year we got to do a little fun float, the Island of the Most Fit Toys,” said Wall. Get it? Misfit? Most fit?

According to Darcy Thorpe, assistant to the director at the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce, there were 45 local businesses represented by floats in the parade.

An unidentified parade participant is bundled up for the cold as they make their way down Paris Street Saturday morning in Norway. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

Jeff Witham, owner of Jeff’s Bait and Tackle in Oxford, led a float strapped with a Christmas tree, an ice auger, a basket full of traps, and various other pieces of gear.

Witham’s shop has been in the parade for three years. He said the chance to advertise and see people get into the Christmas spirit is worth the effort of decorating a float.

“It was nice to let people know we’re here. This year we did a lot of advertising about our open house next weekend where we’ll be giving a lifetime fishing license to a kid. We handed out flyers about that,” said Witham.

An unidentified man tosses candy during the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade. Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal Buy this Photo

“It’s fun doing it, even though it was cold today,” said Witham.

And he’s right. It was cold; Saturday morning temperatures dipped into the low 20s.

But the best part? Seeing so many in the Christmas spirit.

“(The best part was) seeing all the people’s smiling faces when they see your float,” said Witham.

It’s a busy weekend for the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce; alongside the parade, the chamber is also hosting the Festival of Lights in the plaza next to Olympia Sports in Paris.

It was hard for these Oxford Hills Middle School band members to play in the cold as they rode on the back of a flatbed truck during Saturday’s Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce Christmas Parade.

Thorpe said a lot of planning goes into pulling the parade off each year.

“I’ve loved to work day and night on this parade … I was so excited, I’ve worked hard on it. This year is the biggest we’ve ever had,” said Thorpe.

Each year, the chamber also judges the floats, deciding a winner in the Large Business, Small Business, and Nonprofit categories.

This year, Norway Savings Bank came in first for the large business category, Libby’s Landscaping came in first for the small business category, and American Legion Foster Carroll Post 72 came in first for the nonprofit category.

 

 

 

 

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