LEWISTON — The city is hosting its annual holiday celebration this weekend, and organizers hope the ambitious new look — complete with a laser light show and live music — will propel the event into something larger.

The 2021 Holiday Celebration on Saturday, Dec. 11, will feature a two-part slate of events starting with an appearance from Santa in Kennedy Park and culminating with a synchronized musical light show and other performers in Dufresne Plaza.

According to the organizers, which includes LA Arts, the Downtown Lewiston Association and others, planning has been in the works for months with an eye for creating something unique. Dottie Perham-Whittier, Lewiston’s community relations coordinator, said organizers wanted to make it “an evening to remember,” part of a new emphasis on city events.

“For this year’s holiday celebration, we wanted to add to the appeal and vitality of our community with a ‘wow’ experience for those who join us,” she said. “It’s truly been a wonderful experience to work with individuals who have such a vested interest in Lewiston and who are so dedicated to bringing a bit of joy and holiday magic to this special time of year.”

The light show, part of the Dufresne Plaza schedule kicking off at 6:30 p.m., will be put on by Monmouth Audio & Video Productions. Those involved were gearing up for the event last week, including Harry Harris, who filmed a few local residents and city staff about their annual holiday traditions. The resulting interviews will be shown on a large screen in Dufresne Plaza as part of the celebration.

The city also partnered with Bates College and the Bates Dance Festival, and the Immigrant Resource Center of Maine, on the event. Musical performers include Kelly Caufield; Rabbi Sruli & Lisa; Lewiston High School students; and members of three Lewiston churches — Zion, ADS, and All Nations — performing together.

Perham-Whittier said the event is sponsored by Androscoggin Bank.

TJ Couillard, right, and Mike St. Pierre of the Lewiston Public Works Department string lights Monday on the city’s Christmas tree at Dufresne Plaza. The lights will be turned on Saturday during Lewiston’s Holiday Celebration. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

Perham-Whitter said the Dufresne Plaza portion will also feature a tree lighting and a Menorah lighting.

The portion of the event in Kennedy Park will start at 4:30 p.m., when Santa will arrive for photos, and the Lewiston Recreation Department will host some “reindeer games.” The public works department is also bringing a bucket loader down to the park for event-goers to fill with canned goods to donate to those in need.

Jim Parakilas, chairman of LA Arts, said Monday that the holiday celebration will be “a dazzling spectacle for all ages” due to its “amazing light displays, videos and photographs showing the richness of family and community traditions in this city, rousing performances by local musicians, and delicious treats.”

“LA Arts is delighted to be working with the city of Lewiston and local business and community leaders to bring families and neighbors together in this novel festivity,” he said.

Perham-Whittier said the city’s multiple partners paid close attention to details this year, including checking in with Christopher Schario, artistic director of the Public Theatre, for his theatrical input “in an effort to make the evening one of continuous entertainment and celebration.”

She said the city is hoping for a great turnout.

“This is something totally new that we can build on going forward,” she said.


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