RUMFORD — Several colorful floats waited in line Friday night in the Mountain Valley High School parking lot for the Christmas in the River Valley Parade.

Adults and children made last-minute adjustments and added decorations before the judging.

White Christmas lights seemed to be everywhere on the Greater Rumford Community Center float as huge snowflakes hung in the air around a sleigh pulled by reindeer.

Behind it was the Night Before Christmas float by the Hope Association, which featured a huge bed with staff member Susan Lavoie reading “Twas the Night Before Christmas” to Kristen Bragg and Carol Gordon.

Standing beside the bed and Christmas tree float were Mary Turnbull and Missy Small, both of Rumford, holding the Hope Association banner, while several people dressed in old-fashioned nightwear stood behind them as a brisk, chilling wind stirred.

Behind them, the Rumford All-Terrain Vehicle Club’s float waited for children to climb aboard and play with the toy trains on tracks atop a table.


A Vocational Region 9 firetruck was being decorated while Holy Savior School’s first float, Santa’s Workshop, awaited children dressed as elves to take their places along a working assembly-line conveyor belt bearing presents and dumping them into a large bag.

Holy Savior School’s second float was a Christmas scene built ahead of a 6-foot-tall, 4- by 8-foot Gingerbread House that will be auctioned in April, Joseph Pelletier said.

School Principal Barbara Pelletier was dressed as Mrs. Claus while School Board member Bette Thibeault was garbed as an elf.

“Boy, they love it,” Pelletier said of children dressed as elves who were talking and laughing simultaneously while taking their places on both floats.

The parade is sponsored by the River Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Rumford Fire Department.

Last year, Holy Savior School entered its version of The Polar Express Train using three floats connected together and won first place. Smoke poured from the engine stack as children in each window of the train cars waved.


“It was the third or fourth time that we’d come in first,” Joseph Pelletier said.

Behind them was a group of twirlers with the Western Maine Twirlers of Rumford and Minot. One adult twirler, Krystal Parent of Rumford, stood off to one side and practiced twirling a baton that was flaming on both ends.

Judging took place an hour before the parade was scheduled to leave the high school and proceed down streets to the end of Congress Street a mile and a half away. There, Santa was to light the Christmas tree in Veterans Park.

Back in town, large crowds lined both sides of Portland Street and down Congress Street.

Two-year-old Lily Fortier of Rumford, dressed as Santa, yelled, “Ho, ho, ho” and “Merry Christmas.”

The parade passed under a huge, lighted wreath hanging from the extended ladder of Rumford Fire Department’s truck.


Farther down Congress Street, several people sang Christmas carols outside the Praise Assembly of God church while a group of children dressed for a Living Nativity set moved in the front bay window.

Parade participants shouted Merry Christmas to people lining the route during the 45-minute parade of floats and emergency vehicles moving without using loud sirens and horns.

When the float carrying Santa’s sleigh appeared, a lone child yelled, “Merry Christmas, Santa!” Then other children joined in as Santa waved back.

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