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  • Jessica O'Reilly

Celebrating Community Spirit with Maynooth's Brighten the Night Parade

This year, the library tackled the organizing of the Maynooth Brighten the Night parade alongside the Municipality of Hastings Highlands and the Hastings Highlands Fire Department.

There were the usual logistics to be worked out, but of all the little details that went into the making of the parade, the most important was finding people who were committed to creating a magical experience for the whole community. From the volunteers who spent countless hours making handmade decorations for Santa's arrival, to the local businesses that donated supplies, we were very fortunate to have you along with us for the ride.

And what a ride it was! We had local musicians Ian Russell and Betty Leister performing live Christmas music in the library while the Christmas Market carried on in Emond Hall until the afternoon. At 3pm, the vendors generously packed up early to allow our volunteers a little extra time in setting the scene for Santa's arrival, where they brought out all the handcrafted decorations they made and used them to create a beautiful backdrop.

By 4pm, volunteers had already cooked up over 300 hotdogs and cups of hot chocolate for board members Val Loney, Joan Nieman, and Nancy Matheson to hand out to the public. Carolers performed in the courtyard before everyone gathered for the tree lighting ceremony with Mayor Tony Fitzgerald and Library CEO Wendy Keating.

From there, it was a mad dash to the Logger's Field for the judging of the floats, where participants would be up against the harshest of critics: local kids.

Placing first place was D. Spilek & Son Ltd. Auto Service & Towing with an ingenious float featuring propane tanks decorated to look like snowmen and tires stacked to look like Christmas Trees. In second was Seaborn Electric, where the lights synced to the music and kids fittingly rocked out to Rocking Around the Christmas Tree. Last but certainly not least were the Maple Leaf Snow Skimmers in third place with a float decorated convincingly as one of the many trails their group maintains.

This year's parade saw a grand total of 26 brightly lit floats travelling down Young Street and through town along Hwy 62 before returning to the Logger's Field. Councillor Tracy Hagar said it was the first time she could remember the parade passing her business Foxfire Antiques while more floats were still coming down Young Street.

Once the last float finally made its way through town, families gathered at Emond Hall to meet with Santa and receive an early Christmas gift. Many thanks are owed to Santa and all of his helpers for the wonderful experience.

Though the Brighten the Night parade has come and gone, the decorations will be up into the New Year and all are welcome to come out to the Hastings Highlands Centre courtyard for a photo in the selfie station courtesy of the Municipality of Hastings Highlands. The library will be closed starting Sunday, December 24th and will reopen on Tuesday, January 2nd.

See you all in 2024!

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