Every year as Thanksgiving becomes Black Friday, the city of Waterville, Maine transforms into a winter wonderland known as Kringleville.
The tradition began in 1969 when town volunteers set up a modest, unheated cabin and a live spruce tree in Castonguay Square. The Central Maine Railroad ensured that Santa arrived in style to the delight of the children.
Kringleville slowly evolved over the years, with volunteers replacing Santa’s cabin and chipping in to provide a candy cane garden, gingerbread people, talking reindeer, and an elf workshop.
The town’s annual Parade of Lights is held the weekend after Thanksgiving and features floats sponsored by local schools, businesses, organizations and churches.
Not to mention all the festive dancers…
Candy tossing elves…
They ride, dance and shuffle from Front Street, up Union Street, hang a left on Main Street and arrive in Castonguay Square for the ceremonial lighting of the giant spruce.
The spectacular event draws thousands of spectators from across New England each year.
Most importantly, the Parade Of Lights marks Santa’s arrival in Kringleville, where he and Mrs. Clause will take up residence at The Center, at 93 Main Street until December 22.
Children are invited to meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus most weekday nights and Saturdays in the pop-up holiday shop at Waterville Creates. Each will receive a free storybook, courtesy of the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce and Marden’s.
Be sure to take a peak at Santa’s schedule here and remember that lines can be long, so plan ahead.
While you wait you can enjoy holiday-themed children’s activities, grab a cocoa, or shop downtown Waterville. Don’t forget to register with your Elf host!
This incredible holiday tradition is made possible by Waterville Main Street and the local volunteers and donors who ensure that the events grow bigger and better with each passing year.
Visit Kringleville on Facebook for tons more photos and visitor reviews.