SOUTH PORTLAND — South Portland’s beloved holiday tradition that has ushered in the holiday season for more than two decades will return to Mill Creek Park this year. The city’s annual Holiday Lighting of the Park will take place Friday, Dec. 3 from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. The theme of this year’s celebration is “Light and Hope.”

Sponsored by the South Portland Cape Elizabeth Community Chamber of Commerce, the City of South Portland and the South Portland Parks, Recreation and Waterfront invite the community to join in the celebration, which will feature festivities spread out across the park. The family-friendly event will include holiday carols by school musicians, selfies with Santa, concessions by local school PTO groups, a chance to visit a fire truck, and fire pits for fighting off winter’s chill.

“We’re happy to be back in person to celebrate the season and spread cheer to our friends and neighbors throughout the community,” Judith Borelli, Events Committee chairperson for the Chamber. 

All participants are strongly urged to wear masks during the event and practice social distancing.

An exciting addition to this year’s festivities is a special visual art project sponsored by the South Portland Human Rights Commission. Sputnik Animation, an Emmy award-winning studio located in South Portland, will project images celebrating light and hope around the world, which will evolve into a “spirit meter” that depicts energy building toward the lighting of the tree and the park.

“We are so fortunate to have the amazing talent of the Sputnik team right here in our community,” said Alice Goodwin, president of South Portland/ Cape Elizabeth Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors. “Their creative vision and visual storytelling expertise will bring a dynamic new element to our event as we count down to the holiday season.” 

For over 20 years, Sputnik Animation has helped translate clients’ passions into clear visual storytelling. Their work has appeared in programs for WGBH NOVA, National Geographic, Discovery, Animal Planet, and the History Channel. Sputnik’s exhibit work has appeared at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum, Boston Museum of Science and the Maine Mineral and Rock Museum.

The South Portland-Cape Elizabeth Rotary Club will also be on hand for their 59th annual Christmas tree sale.

The Holiday Park Lighting is free and open to the public thanks to the generosity of presenting sponsor Pape Chevrolet; Gold Sponsors Texas Instruments and Norway Savings Bank; Silver Sponsors Town and Country Federal Credit Union, South Portland Cape Elizabeth Rotary Club and Greencare Landscape Management; and Starlight Sponsors Sebago Technics, Noyes Hall & Allen Insurance, and Global.