NORWAY — It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas on Main Street on Saturday as the annual Christmas parade — the state’s largest, in fact — rolled through town.
Organized by the Oxford Hills Area Chamber of Commerce, the theme this year was “The 12 Days of Christmas,” and the procession of blinking lights and colorful characters that slowly made their way toward Market Square in South Paris attracted people from “all over the state,” said chamber member, Janice Davis of South Paris.
The drummers came drumming, courtesy of the Oxford Hills High School marching band, followed by the cheering squad waving golden poms-poms in perfect sync.
Fire engines from 12 towns blared their horns and sirens, showing off spinning lights accented with holiday wreaths. The drivers and passengers of the trucks threw candy to little hands, their fingers outstretched in gloves and mittens. The foil of the candy glinted in the bright sunshine as it lay on the road, waiting to be snatched up by attendees, young and old.
A snowman and a lumberjack walked by, smiling and waving, followed by a Christmas tree and an elf.
The Girl Scouts of Maine marched by, twirling “gold rings,” created by wrapping golden garland around hula hoops.
“Eight maids a cleanin’” rode by on the Hampton Inn float, in yellow rubber gloves and Santa hats. People laughed and cheered at the women.
For many, the parade is a Christmas tradition.
“We come every year,” said Kadie Day of South Paris. She likes to see the military-themed floats and the veterans, and her children enjoy the free candy and the other fun floats. “We even saw a baby cow,” said Day, referring to the Itty Bitty Farm float, featuring eight “maids” sitting around a brown calf.
“I liked the animals and the pictures,” said Day’s daughter, Julia Collins, 7, after the Responsible Pet Care float had rolled by, plastered with pictures of puppies, blasting a custom song about pets to the tune and style of “12 Days of Christmas.”
Santa and Mrs. Claus came last, but not least, with Mrs. Claus waving from atop their sleigh with a kind smile, and Santa with a microphone, letting out jolly ho-ho’s and pointing to the giddy onlookers.
“I remember you when you were just a little fella,” he exclaimed to one man. “That one got coal in his stocking,” he said with a smile about another, and growing more distant, he shouted, “Merry Christmas!”
Santa and Mrs. Claus wave to the crowd during the annual Oxford Hills Christmas parade in Norway and Paris on Saturday. (Brewster Burns photo)
Gus checks out the annual Oxford Hills Christmas parade from his perch on owner Israel McCarthy’s lap Saturday. (Brewster Burns photo)
Sitting near the end of the parade route in Market Square, Ethan Groves, left, and Benjamin Lawler of South Paris wait for the Oxford Hills Christmas parade to begin Saturday. (Brewster Burns photo)
Early in the Oxford Hills Christmas parade Saturday, the firetrucks dominated. (Brewster Burns photo)