Waterville’s Parade of Lights — seen along Main Street on Nov. 24, 2017 — hasn’t been held since 2019 because of the pandemic, but will return this year. It will be held the Saturday after Thanksgiving and will begin at Winslow High School before crossing the Ticonic Bridge into Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file

WATERVILLE — Planning has started for two popular holiday events, the Parade of Lights and Kringleville, to be held in person this year with a new twist: The parade will be held the Saturday after Thanksgiving instead of Friday and will start in Winslow and end in Waterville.

The parade, which traditionally occurs only in Waterville, hasn’t been held since 2019 because of the pandemic. Kringleville, the mini workshop downtown where kids visit Santa, was closed the last two years so they had to visit Santa virtually.

“I just want people to know they’re happening, and don’t worry,” said Amarinda Keys, executive director of the Children’s Discovery Museum, which hosts the events.

Keys and volunteer Scott McAdoo were at the museum on Eustis Parkway on Tuesday where Keys said organizers are excited to be planning for in-person holiday activities this year.

“We’re missing everyone’s smiling faces,” she said.

The museum last year held Santa visits via Zoom, scheduled every 10 minutes each weekend. It just wasn’t the same, Keys said.


A new arrangement this year is that the Parade of Lights will start at 6 p.m. at Winslow High School. It will proceed down Benton Avenue, cross the Ticonic Bridge into Waterville, turn north on Main Street and go through downtown, stopping at Post Office Square.

Keys said all area schools, businesses, churches, organizations and municipalities are invited to take part by entering a float, marching band or other entry. Online registration forms must be returned by Nov. 14 and the registration fee is $25. Early registration is encouraged as the number of floats is limited to 30.

All floats must be decorated with lights, and holiday or winter-themed decorations are encouraged. Major sponsors for the event are Selah Tea and Central Maine Motors Auto Group.

Also new this year is that two separate committees are organizing events for the parade and Kringleville, and volunteers are welcome to help, according to Keys.

The Parade of Lights Committee is headed up by Bill Bonney, who is Waterville’s deputy police chief. Other members include Winslow Town Manager Erica LaCroix and Amanda McCaslin, director of Winslow Parks & Recreation, and Waterville Mayor Jay Coelho and Waterville City Manager Steve Daly.

Winslow’s McCaslin released a statement about Winslow’s involvement this year, saying the town is “honored and excited to be kicking off the start of the Parade of Lights this year. The event is an uplifting tradition for the area and I know the Winslow residents will help get the party started right.”


The Kringleville Committee is led by Rick Bryant, a member of the museum’s board of directors, and includes Coelho and Daly, McAdoo, and January Furchak, co-owner of Holy Cannoli.

Anyone wanting to volunteer with Kringleville may contact Bryant at mrrickbryant@gmail.com and those wanting to volunteer for the parade may call or text Keys at 956-0334, she said. People wanting to register to participate in the parade may register online at the Parade of Lights Facebook page.

Keys said Waterville and Winslow worked together last year for the Santa’s Coming to Town event that was part of a collaboration with Waterville Creates and Joy to the Ville in Waterville, which took place the Saturday after Thanksgiving. At the same time, Winslow held a Christmas program at the town office and gazebo in that town, she said.

“We kind of made it as one event and Santa lit up the Christmas tree in Waterville and went over the bridge to the gazebo in Winslow and lit that tree,” Keys said. “It was great — it was great working with them. They’re excited about Christmas and we thought, ‘Why not continue to collaborate on Christmas this year?’ ”

McAdoo remembered going to see Santa at Kringleville when he was a child, standing in the cold as he  waited in line to enter the workshop. He said he is happy the event and parade will be held in person this year.

“It’s nice to have the Waterville tradition back,” he said.

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