Community Effort Made for Great Parade Night

By Jayna Smith

The Calais Lioness Club created a magical evening once again with lots of cheer spread city-wide with the annual Christmas Parade.  This big event, now in its 18th year, brought hundreds to downtown who lined the streets in anticipation of Santa's big arrival. 

"The weather was perfect for a Christmas parade," Lioness Laurel Perkins stated.  "The best part was seeing all of the kids meeting with the elves and Mrs. Claus during the parade and their excitement for Santa's visit, and of course seeing how busy the city's stores and restaurants were."

Led by the Calais Police Department, over thirty holiday-themed entrants took part in this great community tradition.  Leading as Grand Marshal was the very deserving, very community involved Irene Moreside, chosen by the Lioness Club.  She rode in a beautiful Corvette provided by Ian Pratt of Pratt Chevrolet Buick GMC.

"This year, the Lioness were fortunate to have Riverside Electric's support and trust in allowing us use of a trailer and truck for our own float, something we've had fun putting together for the last two years," Perkins said.  "Each year, we also have some younger citizens carrying our banner at the front of the parade.  This year Chloe Bernardini and Kobe Saunders volunteered for that important role."  

Having worked closely with the Calais Lioness Club leading up to the parade night was Calais Police Department Chief Dave Randall.  Personnel from the department took care of traffic control and ensured everyone's safety throughout the busy evening.

Dead River Oil allowed use of their lot for the parade start, with American Legion Commander Mike McLean taking charge of the line up for a fourth consecutive year.  The parade lasted about forty minutes with entrants from the local scouts, organizations, and several businesses, but surely the most anticipated one was Santa, who rode high upon a very well-lit ladder truck, thanks to Calais Fire-EMS.

Santa accompanied Mrs. Claus at the triangle park where many Christmas wishes were heard.  Mrs. Claus was sure to provide each visitor with a delicious cookie, while the Lioness elves helped each one sign up for a chance to win one of two gift certificates.  The setting for special photos with Santa was perfect, thanks to the Christmas-themed backdrop provided last year by Cabin Fever Embroidery. 

Also at the triangle park were some students from the eighth grade class.  The group made available hot chocolate and popcorn in an effort to raise funds for their end-of-year trip.  

The festivities continued following the parade with stores throughout Calais bustling with activity with the annual Moonlight Madness sales.  Patrons reaped the great discounts with extended shopping hours all over town.  

Students from Washington County Community College's supervisory business management students kept busy throughout the evening.  The group worked hard wrapping gifts to raise fund for a local fuel assistance program.  

"Making the parade happen takes some coordinating with others," Perkins said.  "We always can count on the Calais Police Department and Calais Fire-EMS to help us out, as well as Mike McLean for lining up the entrants.  Also WQDY each year promotes the event, as does The Calais Advertiser.  

"Pratt Chevrolet Buick GMC never lets us down and allows use of a great Grand Marshal vehicle.  Shop 'n Save and Bell's IGA have helped Mrs. Claus with her cookies for years now, and the local businesses all over town get involved with their Moonlight Madness to make it a great night for everyone."  


Perkins also thanked all of those who took time and effort to be in the parade.  "We don't need to give awards out to get folks to participate.  Those who take part simply like being part of the great tradition we provide with the parade.  It's great that we have so many be part to make this great for the whole community."