Sprague's Nursery donated the tree which will stand in West Market Square until just after New Year's. Credit: Emily Burnham

Thousands of revelers crowded the streets of downtown Bangor Saturday night to enjoy the 19th annual Festival of Lights parade, followed by the holiday tree lighting in West Market Square.

More than 60 floats ranging from flatbed trucks carrying smiling, waving local Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops, to impressive floats from area businesses like Dennis Paper and Waterfront Concerts, were decked out in thousands of yards of twinkling lights, LED projectors and inflatable holiday figures.

Credit: Emily Burnham

Others, including area dance troupes, costumed cosplay superheroes, dogs, miniature horses, fire dancers, roller derby skaters and a marching band, rounded out the display, which ended, of course, with Santa Claus.

The Festival of Lights parade has been organized by the Rotary Club of Bangor since 2000. That first year, the event attracted 56 floats, and the Best Overall Float prize was given to Eastern Maine Technical College, now Eastern Maine Community College. Last year’s parade float winner was Dennis Paper & Food Service. Winners of this year’s parade will be announced in the coming days.

Whether in the daytime or the dark, it has long been the state’s largest holiday parade — Portland doesn’t have a holiday parade, and few have been around as long as Bangor’s, which prior to the Festival of Lights was a daytime affair.

For the 20th year in a row, Sprague’s Nursery in Bangor donated the tree in West Market Square, decked out in twinkling blue lights. It will stay lit in the square until just after the New Year.

Credit: Emily Burnham
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Emily Burnham

Emily Burnham is a Maine native and proud Bangorian, covering business, the arts, restaurants and the culture and history of the Bangor region.