NORWAY — Folks gathered along the street Saturday to get the best spot possible for viewing the Oxford Hills Chamber of Commerce’s 2023 Christmas Parade, an annual, highly anticipated event in the Oxford Hills. This year’s theme was “A Christmas Past.”

Santa wanders down one side of Main Street greeting early birds and handing out candy. Meanwhile, the Grinch is meandering down the other side of the street. Dogs in Christmas finery are busy sniffing their way up the street. Cars are full of children and parents trying to find space to park.

Folks walk along with folding chairs on their backs and blankets in their arms. Teens, some perhaps showing they are too cool for coats, shiver in the shade. Older folks holding tight to their walkers as they shuffle down the street to find the perfect viewing spot.

Santa and the Grinch — now together — amble up the street. A school bus decked out in candy canes drops off band members. Cumberland Farms is crowded with folks purchasing hot drinks to warm their hands. Cops close off side streets.

It’s a brisk 25 degrees out on Main Street in Norway. Suddenly, the sound of music is drifting down the street and flashing blue lights can be seen. It’s 11 a.m.

The parade has begun.


Children jump up and down pointing out what’s to come. Adults clutch their hot drinks and warn the children to stay back near the sidewalk. Seemingly, none listen.

Chiefs of police from Paris and Norway and their families act as parade marshals, setting the pace of the marchers and floats that follow.

The Oxford Hills Comprehensive High School marching band puts spectators in the mood with lively Christmas music. Then the sirens and red flashing lights as what seems like every fire truck in western Maine, trunk to tail, come slowly down the street. The cacophony of sound is overwhelming.

Children scramble for candy that is landing at their feet. They jump up and down when they see Barbie on a float. Adults shout encouragement at friends who are marching.

Dogs line the parade route decked out in finery. Kora Shriners zip around madly on little Kora Karts to the delight of kids young and old.

Float after float slowly passes with cheers from the increasingly crowded sides of the street. Some floats play music, others pass in silence.

Cheerful carols from kids on a truck pass by. The Oxford Hills Middle School bandmates play their instruments and wave to friends. Girl and Boy Scouts march proudly. Businesses large and small, and nonprofits vying for the annual “best float” awards, march by displaying their award placement.

About 45 minutes later, Santa and Mrs. Claus bring up the finish of the parade and beginning of the holiday season.

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