Chambers change festivities over safety concerns

Published: Nov. 27, 2020 at 7:06 PM EST
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The Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce and the Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce are planning holiday festivities, though somewhat different from past years. Kathy McCarty has more on how the pandemic has altered plans.

Light parades are a big part of the holiday season in many communities, but with Covid-19, organizers have either cancelled parades or made changes. Houlton officials have come up with an alternative.

“We kinda did a little spin and we’re calling it a Cruise-In With Santa. So, technically, it is kind of a light parade, but we’re going to bypass Market Square. So we’ll go - we’re gonna start at 6 o’clock on the Saturday after Thanksgiving,” says Jane Spurling Torres, Executive Director of the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce.

The route has been changed, to allow for more social distancing, and participants and spectators are asked to wear their masks. There will be no walkers, people on floats, or throwing of candy.

Torres says, “They’ll go down the North Road, bypass Market Square where we usually have the tree lighting and Santa gets off and greets the kids, which is a wild time. We’ll bypass that and we’re gonna take a left and go up Military Street, all the way to the Catholic Church.”

Letters to Santa are also being collected at Serendipitous Dragonfly. Presque Isle’s Light Parade has been cancelled for the same reason. In its place the Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce is hosting a lighting contest.

“We’re having this program called Light Up Central Aroostook. It’s for all the 22 communities under our Chamber of Commerce. We have a hashtag, CACC Lights, that would be Chamber - Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce Lights - so CACC Lights, where the residents and the businesses can decorate the outside of their homes and their business. The businesses will be judged and the general community will be judged. And the business will receive a trophy and residents receive - there - we have 12 awards, up to $300 that will be awarded,” says LaNiece Sirois, Executive Director of the Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce.

There is a fee to get on the map, which will be distributed so families can enjoy their evenings light peeping. With 2020 being such a challenging year, both chambers are hoping these events create safe environments for folks to enjoy some holiday fun. Kathy McCarty, NewsSource 8

For more information on either event, visit

For more information on activities taking place in Houlton, visit the Greater Houlton Chamber of Commerce Facebook page at For more information on what’s going on in the communities served by the Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce or to register your home or business for the lighting contest, visit the CACC facebook page at or visit

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