2016-12-01 / Editorial

Festivals bring joy

Beyond the Headlines
by Rep. Justin Chenette

It’s the holiday season. My favorite time of the year. A variety of decorations are strewn upon many households and public squares. Families separated through work, responsibility and distance are brought together, even if just for a moment in time. People are generally more joyous and random acts of kindness are more plentiful.

This year there are two major holiday events that are great family friendly ways to kick start your Christmas spirit, especially on a low budget.

This Saturday, Dec. 3 is the annual Saco Holiday Festival and Parade of Lights. Saco Main Street, Saco’s downtown development organization, which I’m a part of, is once again pulling out all the stops to make this an enjoyable day for all.

The day starts with the infamous cookie walk from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Cookie Walk is an event where downtown businesses provide two cookies each to individuals with Christmas tins purchased in advance. It’s neat to discover businesses in our own backyard via a gingerbread map locating the tasty spots for cookie pick up. Be sure to get your tins in advance as only 60 are provided. We hope to expand this event in the future to allow for more participants.

Santa and Mrs. Claus will take some time away from their busy schedule in the North Pole for a visit with the kiddos at Saco City Hall from 2 to 4 p.m. Kids are welcome for some Christmas crafting during that same time with plenty of holiday music to get you in the spirit.

Who doesn’t love a bean supper? From 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. there will be a bean supper at Most Holy Trinity Church to benefit the Toys for Tots program. All this leads to the grand finale, the Parade of Lights.

Starting promptly at 6:30 p.m. around the mouth of Beach Street, more than 50 floats and parade participants will march through Main Street and end near Rapid Rays. You might want to bring some sunglasses, this will get bright. I’ll be in the parade, so be sure to say hello when you see our lighted banner and lighted reindeer antlers. This parade gets bigger and bigger every year and will be sure to delight. If you need to sit down, be sure to bring your own lawn chair or congregate on the steps of Saco City Hall.

In Old Orchard Beach, the Celebration by the Sea event is not one to miss the following day. It is hosted by the Old Orchard Chamber of Commerce and is held in the square near The Pier. There will be pictures with Santa, trolley rides, crafts, face painting, food and of course the tree lighting. The tree is massive and rivals the Christmas tree in Portland’s Monument Square. Hearing the crowd countdown to the actual lighting fills you with pending anticipation and a strong sense of togetherness. The Celebration by the Sea will be held 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4.

So whether it’s the Holiday Festival, Parade of Lights, or the Celebration by the Sea, I hope you and your family get out and enjoy this special time of year out in our community.

Justin Chenette is finishing out his second term as state representative for Saco District 15 and is the senatorelect for Saco, Old Orchard Beach, Hollis, Limington and Buxton. Outside the legislature, he is owner of Chenette Media LLC, a multimedia public relations company, and is the president/CEO of the Saco Bay Center of Civic Engagement, a 501c3 nonprofit service organization. Follow updates at www.justinchenette.com, Facebook.com/JustinChenette, and Twitter.com/ JustinChenette.

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