WATERVILLE — More than 100 people, mostly families with young children, gathered Saturday evening along Main Street in downtown Waterville to see Santa and Mrs. Claus ride by in their carriage and light the tree at Castonguay Square.

The carriage ride then continued across the bridge to Winslow to light the gazebo near the Town Office.

The tree lighting in Waterville was the climax to a day filled with events geared toward children and families that included a hands-on art display, a table of children’s books, holiday green screen photographs, luminary lighting and holiday crafts for families.

After a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Waterville Creates, the Maine Film Center, the Waterville Public Library, the Colby College Museum of Art, the Children’s Discovery Museum and downtown businesses collaborated to bring back the “Joy to the Ville” holiday celebration for its fourth year.

Kris Bergquist of the Colby College Museum of Art said the art display was based on “Blue Pines,” an oil painting by David C. Driskell, and allowed children to create their own art using oil pastels.

About 300 luminaries were lit Saturday evening and lined the streets. Extras were available for families to take home, according to Serena Sanborn, education and outreach manager at Waterville Creates. She said Waterville Creates plans to distribute about 2,000 more luminaries to public schools in the area.

“The goal is to have them light them on the winter solstice because it’s the darkest day of the year,” Sanborn said.

Tawni Kelley of Waterville brought her four children to the holiday season kickoff event and said they had fun.

“It’s a good way to get them out of the house,” Kelley said.

Shaunna Wilson, 8, of Waterville said her favorite part of the day was seeing Santa Claus ride by in his carriage.


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