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The Twin Cities' signature holiday celebration and parade kicks off Nov. 26 with a bounty of new floats, organizers said.
Jeremy Gatcomb, program director at the Auburn Recreation Department, said organizers are expecting 30 floats and marching groups, about 10 more than last year.
"They had a Chamber of Commerce breakfast a while back, and we put flyers about the parade in the packet people received," Gatcomb said. "All the different businesses saw that we were looking for floats, so we've had new people involved."
This is the sixth year the cities of Lewiston and Auburn have combined efforts to kick off the holidays.
The 2011 parade featured 18 floats, including firetrucks and public works vehicles from Lewiston and Auburn, the Edward Little High School Marching Band and a handful of floats created by Lewiston and Auburn families.
"This year, we have a lot more businesses entering floats," Gatcomb said.
Floats are being designed by Austin Associates, Dead River Co., Community Credit Union and Northeast Charter and Tour Motorcoach Transportation Services.
The parade will start at Main and Academy streets, the staging area. It's scheduled to step off at 6 p.m., stopping briefly at Auburn's Festival Plaza to light the Christmas tree before continuing across the Gov. James B. Longley Memorial Bridge up Main Street to Park Street. The parade ends at Dufresne Plaza on Park Street at about 6:30 p.m. It will be followed by the Lewiston lighting ceremony for Lewiston's Christmas tree and the community menorah.
The bulk of the celebration will be in Lewiston, including an appearance by Santa Claus, the Christmas tree and menorah lighting ceremony, float judging, entertainment, wagon rides, story time, crafts, hot chocolate and snacks. The Lewiston High School and Edward Little High School choral groups are scheduled to perform.
Lewiston Community Relations Coordinator Dot Perham-Whittier said Stillbrook Acres of Gray will give free wagon rides along Park Street in Lewiston.
Other parts of the city will host additional events. Auburn Hall will host arts and crafts, as well as story time from 4-6 p.m.
The Lewiston Public Library will host a guitar sing-along from 4-4:45 p.m. in the Children's Library, and juggler and comedian Michael Trautman will perform from 5-5:45 in Callahan Hall. Trautman's performance is being co-sponsored by L/A Arts.
A rain date is Nov. 28.
Both cities will get their festival sites ready on Monday, installing the holiday trees.
Lewiston's tree will be delivered from Tremont Street to Dufresne Plaza between 8 and 11 a.m. Monday.
Auburn's tree will be brought from Sunderland Drive to Festival Plaza at about the same time.