PARIS — It may only be a few days after summer has ended, but planning for the annual Norway/Paris Christmas Parade has begun.

The Christmas Parade Committee will meet next week in preparation for the annual event later in November.

“The theme this year is ‘The Night Before Christmas,’” said Jennifer Boenig, executive assistant of the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce. The 2014 parade will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 29, starting at 11 a.m. at the intersection of Main Street and Pikes Hill Road in Norway, ending at Market Square in Paris.

In 2013, the chamber began announcing the theme of the parade during the first week of January to give local businesses plenty of time to come up with ideas.

The parade, which chamber officials said is the largest Christmas parade in the state and brings hundreds of folks to the area, has been held for at least 35 years. Typically, it draws firetrucks, marching bands, many floats, roller skaters, a variety of animals, including miniature horses and, of course, the highlight of the parade — Santa Claus.

Boenig said online registration for the parade is available on the Chamber of Commerce’s website and paper registration will be mailed out next week. There is a fee of $35 if the float is going to be judged, she said.

“Any other community groups or organizations are welcome to participate for free,” Boenig said. “The more, the merrier.” 

The Festival of Trees will run the same weekend as the Christmas Parade. Businesses and community organizations decorate an artificial tree for the festival, which is then raffled off. Winners take the tree, all the decorations and any gifts placed on or under the tree.

The chamber also donates 20 percent of the proceeds from the event to Rightstart for its Christmas for Kids and Christmas for Teens programs. Last year, the chamber donated $800.

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