Some changes to the 26th annual Presque Isle Holiday Light Parade on Saturday will help ensure a pedestrian-friendly environment and promote the spirit of a street festival, according to Kim Smith, Public Information Officer for the City of Presque Isle.

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Traditionally the largest downtown event of the year, the light parade will begin at 6:00 p.m. at University of Maine at Presque Isle and travel north on Main Street to North Street.

This year, roadside parking will not be allowed between Academy and State Streets to enable parade-watchers, especially children, a better opportunity to view the holiday procession, Smith said.

For several years, merchants along Main Street have noted that all of the parking spaces in front of their shops get filled up hours before the parade starts. Small children are unable to see past the bumper-to-bumper line up of cars, forcing many of the kids to stand in the street.

Increasing safety concerns led the Presque Isle Downtown Revitalization Committee to ask for a temporary parking ban on the block for the entire day Saturday.

Police Chief Matt Irwin says barricades will be placed in the parking spaces along the section of Main Street from Academy to State and officers will be patrolling the area Saturday and enforcing the temporary no parking zone until the parade concludes.

In addition to creating a safer environment, more people will be able to gather in that area and hear the parade announcers from their perch atop a flatbed near the Northeastland Hotel, Smith stated.

Downtown merchants will also be able to more easily use the sidewalks in front of their businesses for sales merchandise as well as handing out holiday cookies and hot cocoa making for a more festive experience.

The Lights of Life tree, outside Clukey’s Auto Supply on Main Street in Presque Isle, will be lit during a brief ceremony during Saturday's Holiday Light Parade. Community members are also invited to stop by TAMC’s North Street Healthcare immediately following the parade for a hot drink and to purchase a light if they like.

The annual Holiday Light Parade is sponsored by the Central Aroostook Area Chamber of Commerce.