The traditional Christmas Parade and Festival of Trees will return to Norway and Paris on Thanksgiving weekend Nov. 27.

NORWAY — Traditions sidelined by the pandemic are pledging to return to Oxford Hills on Nov. 27.

John Williams of the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce has announced the Christmas Parade and the Festival of Trees will be held Thanksgiving weekend, as they have for many years.

“We’re back,” Williams said. “We want to bring back spirit and community and this is something for everyone to look forward to.

“People have been asking for months and we want to get the word out about it early. We want floats. We want marchers – be it clubs, bands, gymnastics teams, antique tractors.”

In past years as many as 5,000 to 6,000 spectators have turned out for the parade. It is not uncommon for 40 floats to participate. Williams hopes the community and organizations will make this year’s celebration the biggest one yet.

To make sure as many people as possible can enjoy the procession, Williams has enlisted Bennett Radio Group to livestream the parade on WOXO’s website. The station’s on-air personalities Rick Bennett and Heidi Adam will broadcast from the sidewalk in front of their Main Street studio in Norway, with Williams joining them to provide commentary on the festivities.

The Festival of Trees will be held immediately afterward at a new location in South Paris.

McLaughlin Garden on Main Street in Paris will host the 10th Annual Festival of Trees on Nov. 27. Submitted photo

“We’re taking the Festival of Trees to McLaughlin Garden,” Williams said. “Organizations will set up Christmas trees in the barn at the garden.”

Williams said the garden is a treasure that not enough people know about and the perfect place to host the festival.

Any individual, family or organization can sign up to donate a decorated tree. There is no admission fee, but the maximum number of trees will be 50 and registrations are first come, first served. Including gifts to go under the tree is highly encouraged. Each tree will be raffled off.

Williams said that in 2019 $12,000 was raised during the festival. Up to 20% of the proceeds will be donated to local charities.

To sign up to donate a decorated tree, see guidelines and get a registration form go to the chamber’s web calendar at business.oxfordhillsmaine.com/events. Registration deadline is Nov. 22.

The festival will be held Nov. 27-28 and is open to the public.

The entry fee for the Christmas Parade is $25 for groups participating in the best float competitions. There is no charge for those not entering the judging competition. Guidelines and registration information can also be found on the chamber’s web calendar.

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