CAMDEN — It was the annual event that seems fresh each year as hundreds of folks from near and far lined Main Street, Camden, to gawk and wonder at fun-filled floats that festooned the downtown’s 36th Annual Christmas by the Sea celebration.

The parade traveled north on Main Street in cold but clear weather from Mechanic Street to the Camden library where the town tree was lit on day one of the three-day regional fete put on by the Camden Area Business Group and others. And it was a big hit.

“This is the weekend when the town really is at the peak of its charm,” said Colin Page, owner Page Gallery on Bay View Street, as he waited with his children and friends for the parade to begin.

Elizabeth and Todd Belcher came all the way from Seeknok MA and snuggled under a blanket awaiting the annual Christmas pageant. Photo by Jack M. Foley

“We just love this quaint town,” said Elizabeth Belcher, who snuggled under a blanket among the throngs lining both sides of Main Street. She and hubby Todd drove up from their home in Seeknok, Mass. to experience Camden’s beloved holiday tradition — and celebrate their wedding anniversary — for the second year in a row.

Dozens of floats brightly lit with flashing seasonal colors, enveloped by lively music and the staccato blasts of fire engine sirens and horns represented many segments of the Midcoast community — from the Camden and Rockport fire departments to Habitat for Humanity, the Girl Scouts and Pen Bay Christian School, to the  Megunticook Watershed Association, the Bartlett Woods community, the Maine Lobster Festival and numerous private businesses that participated, some with mammoth trucks and plows all tricked out in catchy Christmassy couture.

Wayne Ruesswick was fitted out in an eye-catching red and white lobster suit replete with big cardboard claws for the festivities and strolled along Main Street handing out toffee.

 

Wayne “Santa Claws” Ruesswick was glad to see a community event that harkened back to his childhood. He handed out toffee along the parade route. Photo by Jack M. Foley

“This is a really great community event,” said the nonprofit Stewardship Education Alliance official, adding, “I think we have lost some of these communal gatherings,” since his childhood days.

Gallery owner Colin Page with his kids and their friends await the start of the annual parade in the warmth of Page Gallery