Piper Gilbert of TNT Dance Studio performs Nov. 29, 2019, with other members of the studio during the Parade of Lights in Waterville. This year’s parade is set for Saturday, Nov. 26, beginning in Winslow and ending in Waterville. Michael G. Seamans/Morning Sentinel file

WATERVILLE — The Waterville area will usher in the holiday season beginning Friday and continuing until Christmas with events to include the Parade of Lights, Kringleville, Light Up the Town and the Festival of Trees.

“I think we’re all excited to have the events in person again after a couple of years virtual,” said Amarinda Keys, executive director of the Children’s Museum, which coordinates all but the tree festival. “We just can’t wait to see everybody’s smiling faces.”

The Festival of Trees, hosted by the Alfond Youth & Community Center, is to open at 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday this week at The Elm at 21 College Ave., with 53 holiday-themed trees and associated gifts that will be given away to those whose tickets are drawn from boxes at each tree. The event closes at 7 p.m. both days and reopens from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. It will then be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Nov. 25 and 26, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Nov. 27. Admission is $2 for those 13 or older, and free for children up to 12 years old.

The Parade of Lights, coordinated by the Discovery Museum and organized by a parade committee, is planned for 6 p.m. on Nov. 26, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, with a lineup of floats and other participants at Winslow Senior High School at 20 Danielson St. It is to proceed down Benton Avenue to the Ticonic Bridge, cross the bridge into Waterville, turn right onto Main Street and stop at Castonguay Square so Santa Claus can light the Christmas tree. The parade is to disband at the fire station.

Fairfield resident Mark Huard, owner of Central Maine Photography and co-owner of Huard’s Martial Arts in Winslow, was chosen as grand marshal for this year’s parade, according to Keys. The parade committee works with the grand marshal sponsor, Central Maine Motors Auto Group, to choose the marshal, she said.

“Mark has just been so involved in the parade and Kringleville for so many years,” Keys said. “He does photography at Kringleville. He’s just the biggest Christmas fan ever.”


Thirty floats are expected in the parade, including one with a live band playing holiday music and decorated by Living Water Community Church, a gingerbread-themed display by Stage Presence for Dancers and an “Island of Misfit Toys” float by the Humane Society Waterville Area.

Police officers, firefighters, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are also expected in the parade.

“We are having a judging panel this year for the first time for best float,” Keys said. “They just get bragging rights.”

Kringleville, the mini holiday house and village where children can meet Santa Claus, is scheduled to open from 1 to 4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 27, at Head of Falls, off Front Street, and be open those hours every Saturday and Sunday until Christmas.

Mark Huard of Fairfield, owner of Central Maine Photography and co-owner of Huard’s Martial Arts in Winslow, has been named grand marshal of the Parade of Lights, set for Saturday, Nov. 26. The parade is to begin in Winslow and conclude in Waterville. Organizers say Huard was chosen because of his involvement over many years in coordinating holiday events in the region. Photo courtesy of Mark Huard

“This year, what’s really nice is we have a lot of community partners,” Keys said. “So every day that Kringleville happens, community groups will have giveaways, including hot chocolate. It’ll be a little bigger than past years. I’m really excited about that.”

Bridgette Demelli of Northern Light Health has organized the community partner groups, according to Keys, who said anyone wanting more information on Kringleville should visit the website — www.kringleville.org.


The Children’s Museum also is hosting Light Up the Town, which was launched two years ago to fill the gap when the parade was not held because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Light Up The Town allows those in Greater Waterville to decorate their properties with many lights. A map and list are then created so people can drive the area and view the displays. Registration at www.kringleville.org or on the Kringleville Facebook page is open until Monday.

Registration at www.kringleville.org or on the Kringleville Facebook page is open until Monday, according to Keys.

Chris Bernier, whose Winslow display took first place in 2020, is organizing the event with Keys this year.

Sponsors of the parade, the Light Up the Town event and Kringleville are Central Maine Motors Auto Group, Day’s Jewelers, Bangor Savings Bank and Selah Tea.

Keys said children can write letters to Santa Claus at the North Pole and drop them into the mailbox or the Letters to Santa box at Kringleville. Those who send letters will receive a response from Santa.

The box at Kringleville will be set up in time for Thanksgiving, according to Keys.

Related Headlines

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.