The University was pleased to be a part of northern Maine’s largest Holiday Light Parade on Saturday, Dec. 3—once again helping a giant snowy owl to float down Main St—and host 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 decided to bring back the incredibly popular parade entry from last year, a larger-than-life snowy owl, complete with a 35-foot wing span, for the 2016 parade. The entirely handmade snowy owl was formed out of more than 200 feet of PVC pipe, more than 80 yards of cloth, 60 hand-sewn and wired feathers, and hundreds of zip ties. It was created by UMPI Art professor Hyrum Benson and students in the UMPI Art Club-Studio 923.
Stepping up to carry the float down Main St. were many UMPI staff and students, including the entire UMPI Men’s Basketball team. Also accompanying the float were a crew of UMPI Owls decked out in holiday lights and handing out goodies to parade-goers, and the mascot Hootie.
This year’s parade route started at UMPI with the annual Holiday Open House and refreshments at Gentile Hall 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 staff, students and friends 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, Beth Olsen, Hyrum Benson and Rachel Rice.