Group organizing first St. John Valley Light Parade for Dec. 23
MADAWASKA, Maine — Members of a new group in the area are working to get volunteers to participate in the first St. John Valley Light Parade on the evening of Dec. 23 in Madawaska to “spread some Christmas cheer.”
While this first parade will be in Madawaska, organizer and co-founder of The Other Maine Matters, Adam Ouellette said the parade will move around from town to town each year, and is expected to end up in Fort Kent next year and Van Buren the year after that.
According to the group’s Facebook page, The Other Maine Matters is a community-driven forum created for “new and old alike to become informed about current affairs and get more involved in their future.”
“We found out there wasn’t going to be anything done in Madawaska, so we decided to start something,” Ouellette said, referring to the holiday parade. “And instead of having it just for Madawaska, we wanted to open up to the Valley. That way, each town gets to participate. All we’re doing is building community.”
Ouellette said members of the group decided to put their heads together and figure out what they could contribute that would “not cost the town any money.”
“We tried to put ideas out there and see what we can do to build up the community and get people involved,” he said. “We’re just trying to build stuff in this area that’s Valley-wide not just in each individual town.”
The original day that Ouellette and the other members of the group were shooting for was Nov. 23, but, according to member Jenn Collin, who also is executive director of the St. John Valley Chamber of Commerce. But they quickly realized they weren’t giving people enough time to sign-up and make their floats, so they switched to Dec. 23.
“We really want to do a parade where we have more lights, more floats, and more people involved,” Collin said Friday at the Christmas Tree Lighting in Madawaska.
Ouellette said the parade is not just for businesses, but is open for public participation. There is no fee to enter into the parade either, he said.
Organizers plan to have the parade start at 6 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 23, at the old farmer’s market location next to McDonald’s, travel down Main Street and end at the new Farmer’s Market Pavilion in the Kmart parking lot.
Confirmed entries to the parade include the Madawaska police and fire departments, the Boy and Girl Scout troops in Madawaska, the northern Aroostook chapter of Toys for Tots, the Madawaska Recreation Department, and Misty Meadows Organic Farm in Grand Isle.
“I’d like to see people pull together,” he said.
Ouellette and Collin both urge anyone interested in participating to contact Ouellette at 617-777-4977.