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At its meeting on November 1, 2022, the Sanford City Council approved a new, shorter route for this year’s Holly Daze Parade, as well as other changes to make the event safer for attendees. The parade is scheduled for Friday night, December 2, and will start at 5:30 pm, followed by the tree lighting in Central Park at around 6:15 pm.

Possible changes to the route, or perhaps forgoing the parade altogether in favor of a bigger tree-lighting ceremony, had been discussed at the Municipal Operations and Property Subcommittee last month. Police Chief Craig Andersen said then that having a nighttime parade is inherently dangerous, especially at rush hour on a Friday. The Subcommittee asked the Parks and Recreation Department to get input from the Friends of Downtown regarding the event, which attracts large numbers of people to Main St. and Central Park.

The Friends of Downtown suggested the shorter route, which would start at Emery St. instead of York St. as has been done in prior years. It will end as usual at the Midtown Mall/Main Street Marketplace. Deputy Mayor Maura Herlihy, who has been involved with the parade for many years, said this would avoid the “horrific” traffic problem at McDonald’s/Dairy Queen. She said the parade is a great event for local businesses because people go out to eat afterward.

Map showing where barricades will be placed for the Holly Daze Parade. The red line is the parade route.

Another change to make the event safer is that streets all around Central Park will be blocked off until after Santa and Mrs. Clause light the tree. In the past, roads were opened as soon as the parade was over and School St. was never fully blocked off. Parks and Recreation Director Brady Lloyd said the Public Works Department will have a dump truck or other large vehicle parked behind the barricade at the intersection of Main, Winter and Lebanon Sts. for added safety.

All parade participants will be required to pay a $25 registration fee and agree to have people walking along the route if they want to distribute candy.

Mr. Lloyd said Parks and Rec is still looking for the Christmas Tree for Central Park. He encouraged anyone with a large tree they would like to donate to contact Parks and Rec at 207-324-9130. He would like to generate a list of possible future trees as well.

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