There have been plenty of parades in Camden, but the annual 2021 Christmas by the Sea parade Dec. 3 was perhaps one of the happiest, most joyful gathering of a community in a long time. Hundreds (maybe more!) lined the sidewalks to watch their friends and neighbors and family members wind through the downtown on floats, in firetrucks, backhoes, or just walking with banners and flags. Always, there were many, many smiles, with some singing and dancing.
The parade was organized in the parking lot of the former Tibbetts Industries on Colcord Ave., where participants climbed aboard or into their rigs, plugged in their splendid holiday lights, and began the slow process to Route 1, down Elm Street, and onto Main Street. Santa Claus and companion Elf were even on a float.
In the lead, a Camden police cruiser, flashing the blue lights, letting people know the parade was just about there.
Meanwhile, regular Route 1 traffic was rerouted around town so that the community could enjoy that stretch of highway all to itself.
And did they ever enjoy it. While the pandemic rages on, the economy bumps up and down, and the world seems dour, the heart of the Midcoast was strong and energetic Friday evening.
At the Chestnut Street Baptist Church, an outdoor nativity play got under way, while on the Village Green, a Christmas tree was a center point for families with small children. Rotary members baked blueberry pastries and set up shop by the Allen Agency, while further down the street, folks who hadn’t seen each other in ages laughed and joked like old friends do.
At the tail of the parade, another police cruiser signaled the end, and the crowd moved walked slowly along the road up to Harbor Park for the annual tree lighting ceremony.
Festivities continue all weekend in Lincolnville, at the Beach, and in Camden, when Santa arrives at the Public Landing.