BANGOR, Maine — Editor's note: The above story shows how small Bangor businesses are celebrating Plaid Friday on Nov. 26.
It’s been a tough year-and-a-half for many traditional activities and events due to the COVID pandemic. Parades have been particularly hard hit as organizers and sponsors canceled to keep people from gathering too closely and in too great of numbers.
Those concerns linger, which is what caused the Rotary Club of Bangor to cancel the annual Festival of Lights holiday parade yet again under an abundance of caution.
But a group of local citizens has stepped in to bring the event back to Bangor’s downtown streets next month. After the cancellation was first announced over the summer, Matt Campbell took to social media, looking for friends and colleagues with any experience pulling off a parade. He wanted to bring the holiday magic back to families and kids, like his seven-year-old daughter Reese.
“It’s a sense of community,” Campbell said that first motivated him to take on the planning.
He said the city helped with the logistics once the decision was made to put the call out for bands and groups wanting to march. Local businesses were quick to add their sponsorship and support.
“As a child, it’s one of my fondest memories of the Christmas time. Watching the parade and seeing Santa at the end— it’s just a sense of togetherness during the holidays,” Campbell said.
The Greater Bangor Area Christmas Parade kicks off at 4 p.m. on Dec. 11. The parade route starts at Exchange and York Streets, continues down Harlow running onto Central then through West Elm Square and up Main Street to Cedar Street.
As many as 50 groups and organizations are expected to participate.
Anyone who wants to be among that number should reach out to register their group or float by email.