Christmas Parade Scheduled for December 1st

The Lioness elves, pictured here with Santa and Mrs. Claus in 2016, are gearing up for another spectacular Christmas parade on Friday, December 1st. This year marks the club's twentieth year coordinating this great community tradition. (Calais Lioness photo)

By Lura Jackson

 

The biggest local event of the Christmas season – the Calais Christmas parade – has been scheduled for Friday, December 1st, and this year’s parade is shaping up to be a marvel for area children. This is the 20th year in a row that the Lioness Club has coordinated the parade, which concludes with a visit from Mr. and Mrs. Claus and leads into Moonlight Madness on Main Street. 

“It’s definitely the club’s favorite of all the events we do,” Lioness Jayna Smith said, adding that the club organizes the parade each year “to see so many come out and the whole community come together to make such an amazing tradition for Calais.” Smith said that the excitement from the children and the associated economic boost of Moonlight Madness for downtown retailers add to the Lioness’s enthusiasm for the event.

For this year’s event, Mike McLean, Commander of American Legion Sherman Brothers Post #3, has been chosen as the Grand Marshal. “Mike does so much for our veterans and for our community,” Smith said. McLean organizes the Memorial Day Parade each year, along with its surrounding events and activities, and spearheaded the campaign to have American flags placed on telephone poles lining the primary streets of Calais. He is a consistent participant of the Color Guard at various community events, and holds regular meet and greets for veterans in the area. The next Veterans Meet and Greet will be held on November 27th at Just South of the Border/The Schooner at 6:00 p.m. McLean responded very graciously to being named as Grand Marshal, but expressed regret that he would miss the opportunity to assist with the parade lineup as a result.

Jamie Bohanon of Baileyville will be taking over the role of coordinating the parade lineup in McLean’s absence. Bohanon is the head of the holiday committee in Baileyville, and Smith said he is no stranger to organizing parades. “We are lucky to have Jamie Bohanon volunteering to get the lineup into the parade route and moving,” Smith said.

As in previous years, the parade will begin at Dead River on Barker Street before proceeding down Main Street. Grand Marshal McLean will be escorted in a vehicle provided by Pratt Chevrolet Buick GMC. Santa will ride atop a Calais Fire-EMS fire engine and Mrs. Claus will be at the front of the parade with the Lioness elves. Dennis Brown and Lorraine Mitchell will be reprising the roles of the former and latter holiday figures, respectively. 

After the parade ends at Union Street, Santa and Mrs. Claus will meet with children in Triangle Park to share cookies donated by Bell’s IGA and Tradewinds Shop n’ Save. All of the children who are present can enter their names to win a prize sponsored by the Lioness Club. The Calais 8th Grade class will be present to offer hot chocolate by donation to help fight the chilly temperatures and raise funds for their upcoming class trip at the same time.

While the Lioness Club leads the effort of organizing the parade, Smith describes it as a “community effort.” In addition to the aforementioned assistance from Pratt and Calais Fire-EMS, volunteers like Jamie Bohanon, and donations from local grocers, the Lioness Club coordinates with Police Chief David Randall to ensure that the route is approved and traffic control is prepared.

The Calais Marching Band will be present this year, under the guidance of Christine Proefrock, providing those watching the parade with seasonal melodies. There are typically several interesting floats that accompany the parade, such as a previous year’s offering from Calais Regional Hospital, which featured a gingerbread man and house. Dead River has featured Snoopy in the past, and Raw Customs Mobile Install has joined in the fun by adorning its signature vehicle with festive lights. 

There is no cost to enter the parade, making it an excellent opportunity to advertise and reach the community. All organizations, businesses, and causes are invited to participate. To register, obtain a registration form at the city building and submit it by November 30th. For more information about the event or to request an application, contact Jayna Smith at 214-0565 or via email at JaynaMSmith@hotmail.com.

Commander Mike McLean (right) is shown here with Mrs. Claus (Lorraine Mitchell) during a previous year's Christmas parade event in Calais. McLean was selected to be this year's Grand Marshall of the parade. (online photo)