A small but mighty committee of volunteers helped to pull off the second annual Villages of Light celebration in Damariscotta and Newcastle on Saturday, Nov. 24.
The event began last year due to a desire to bring more spirit to the Twin Villages during the holidays, shared by volunteers from the Damariscotta Region Chamber of Commerce, the Twin Villages Alliance, and the Rotary Club of Damariscotta-Newcastle, as well as other individuals. The celebration was warmly received by the community.
“The spirit that Villages of Light generates in our towns is contagious,” committee member Rick Hagen said. “It makes one feel so blessed to see the lights and feel the season come to life before our eyes!”
This year’s event built on the success of last year, resulting in the expansion of the sponsor-a-tree program. Clark Farms provided 80 4- to 5-foot evergreen trees at cost. Businesses, organizations, and individuals could sponsor a tree for $150.
In addition to the small trees, five large trees were deployed at Veterans Memorial Park and Louis Doe Home Center in Newcastle, and at the Chapman-Hall House, Damariscotta River Association’s Round Top Farm, and N.C. Hunt Lumber in Damariscotta.
N.C. Hunt Lumber helped set up the trees, while Tidewater Telecom strung the lights. Louis Doe Home Center donated the necessary hardware to secure the trees, which are 20 feet tall and taller.
“The tree deployment is a crucial part of our event, and it would not have been possible without the generosity of these local businesses and individuals,” Villages of Light Committee member John Roberts said.
The Nov. 24 events kicked off with Santa Claus’ noon arrival in downtown Damariscotta in a truck from Newcastle Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram Viper. After a performance by the Renys Rockets, Santa made his way to Lincoln Theater, where he heard the Christmas wishes of dozens of children before a showing of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.”
Throughout the afternoon, a kids crafting station was set up at Skidompha Library while classic Christmas movies played in Porter Hall.
Throughout the day, residents and visitors could drop by local eateries for a “cup of cheer” drink special or food offering.
About a half-hour after sunset, the Twin Villages came alive as the Parade of Lights got underway. Floats from local businesses, organizations, families, public safety agencies, and more made their way through Damariscotta and Newcastle decked out in lights and playing Christmas music.
“The weather was perfect and it was a joy to see all the families out enjoying themselves,” committee member Terri Herald said. “Next year I look forward to even more events for families to enjoy and participate in!”
The committee is holding a poll for people to select their favorite entries in the parade. The poll can be found at villagesoflight.com. The results will be announced in the Dec. 6 edition of The Lincoln County News.
As the committee looks to next year, more volunteers will be needed to help the event continue to be a success.
“We want Villages of Light to be an event families look forward to every year, and in order to do that we need more help,” Roberts said.