LEWISTON — Ever seen Santa and Mrs. Claus cruise down Lisbon Street?

On Saturday night, Santa Claus came to town for the Twin Cities’ Holiday Celebration marking the beginning of the holiday season.

Santa made his way from Great Falls Plaza in Auburn with a line of parade floats in tow, parking his sleigh at Kennedy Park in Lewiston, where a crowd of festive folks  welcomed him into the gazebo and waited in line for a coveted photo with Saint Nick.

The parade included a Community Credit Union frozen float, boasting bank president Jennifer Hogan dressed as Olaf the Snowman blasting earworms from the 2013 Disney film “Frozen.” Other participants included a group of cyclists from the Maine Cycling Club, tire spokes wrapped with Christmas lights.

Back at Kennedy Park, as the crowd counted down, a Christmas tree was lit, as was a menorah celebrating the Jewish holiday of Hanukkah. 

Alex LaGrange of Lewiston said it was his family’s first time attending the parade and tree-lighting.

“It’s pretty amazing for all the families, all the kids — it’s pretty cool that the community comes together like this,” he said.

The celebration kicked off with a free screening of “The Polar Express” at the Auburn Public Library, followed by Santa lighting the Auburn Christmas tree at Festival Plaza.

Auburn residents had a chance to take photos with Jolly Ol’ Saint Nick, before Santa paraded his way across the Androscoggin River. 

From “Frozen” to “The Victorian Nutcracker,” the celebration had a bit of holiday cheer for everyone.

Around 5:15 p.m. dancers from the Portland Ballet performed scenes from “The Victorian Nutcracker” at the Lewiston Public Library. Dancers performed the famous Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy and the Waltz of the Snowflake.

Afterward, the students gave the crowd a taste of the work that goes into practicing for the “Nutcracker” every year, demonstrating a warm-up at the ballet. 

People young and old were invited up to the stage, where dancers taught them a few simple steps. Nell Shipman, artistic director and choreographer for the Portland Ballet Company, said the process of putting on the “Nutcracker” involves dedication and hard work. 

“The students go to school, go to rehearsals, and on the weekend are working really hard,” Shipman said. “It’s a lot of hours, but a lot of fun times.” 

Shipman said organizing for the “Nutcracker” begins in August. In September, Portland Ballet holds auditions and every weekend from September to the date of the performances, the dancers have weekend rehearsals that last most of the day.

“The music is amazing,” Shipman said. “It’s unfortunate they play it in the malls so much, but when you see it in the theater, you see the orchestra playing, you see the bodies moving. It really does something to you.” 

Children wait to visit with Santa Claus during the Twin Cities Holiday Celebration in Kennedy Park in Lewiston on Saturday.  (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Morgyn Crowley, right, of Gray works with Natalie Rexroad, 6, of Auburn during a Portland Ballet demonstration at the Lewiston Public Library on Saturday. Eight dancers from The Portland Ballet performed scenes from “The Victorian Nutcracker” and taught children steps and answered questions on how one becomes a ballerina. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Members of the Maine Cycling Club participate in the Parade of Lights that started in Auburn’s Great Falls Plaza and ended in Lewiston’s Kennedy Park on Saturday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

Samantha Rembert of Lewiston and her niece, Leannatt Robinson, 5, watch the Parade of Lights as it comes over the Bernard Lown Peace Bridge from Auburn into Lewiston on Saturday. (Daryn Slover/Sun Journal)

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