The University was pleased to be a part of northern Maine’s largest Holiday Light Parade on Saturday, Dec. 2—rolling Hootie down Main St. in his very own “Big Bird-style” nest (though science faculty have informed the creators that snowy owls don’t actually build nests like that). “Flying” on roller skis and dancing around the “Have a Hootie Holiday” parade float was a whole parliament of other snowy owls and snowy owl chicks.
The University also hosted its annual holiday reception at Gentile Hall ahead of the parade. The Central Aroostook Chamber of Commerce’s Holiday Light Parade draws thousands of spectators to the Downtown for what has become a traditional kick-off to the season in The County.
UMPI parade committee members tested their creative mettle in this year’s parade entry with the giant bird’s nest made out of real sticks and brush by UMPI Art professor Hyrum Benson and students in the UMPI Art Club-Studio 923. The entry also featured a large snowy owl made out of foam board (and held aloft with a harness–created by Alyssa Dougherty and Amanda Baker) and snowy owl costumes made from yards and yards of white felt. The committee used black lights to make the whole thing glow, a concept one of the members had seen used at Winter Carnival in Quebec.
This year’s parade route started at UMPI and ended at North Street Healthcare facility with the parade awards ceremony as well as hot cocoa and cookies inside the main lobby/walk-in clinic area as the entries made their way to North Street.
During parade line-up, UMPI staffers Lydia Kieffer-Till and Luke Cameron served as a “hosting crew,” delivering hot cocoa, cookies, and good cheer to people waiting in line for the parade to begin.
This year’s Light Parade committee members included Vanessa Pearson, Hyrum Benson, Amanda Baker, and Rachel Rice.