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Parade of Lights sets village aglow

MILLERTON — Just as residents were recovering from their Thanksgiving feasts, the village of Millerton coaxed them out of their cozy homes to ring in the holiday season with a few festivities — including the Millerton Fire Company’s annual Parade of Lights — on Friday, Nov. 26

In the weeks before the Parade of Lights, Townscape of Millerton and North East helped the village get dressed up for the holiday season by hanging holiday lights throughout the village.

While Millerton’s business district was illuminated with strings of lights, garlands and other holiday decor a week before the parade, Townscape and local leaders saved lighting Millerton’s Christmas tree for last. The tree, stationed at the entrance to the village by the stoplight at the intersection of Main Street and Route 22, was lit before the parade took off at 5:30 p.m. on Friday night.

Kicking off the Black Friday festivities in Millerton, The Moviehouse hosted a free community screening of the Christmas movie favorite “Elf” at 11 a.m. With doors opening at 10:30 a.m., each moviegoer was allotted one free small popcorn to snack on as they watched the story of Buddy the Elf play out on the big screen.

After the movie, Black Friday shoppers were encouraged to browse the village shops throughout the day, whether they were looking to gather holiday gift ideas for later or buy something that day for a bargain price.

In the early afternoon, Mother Nature treated everyone to a taste of the winter wonderland to come by turning the day’s cold autumn rain into a light snowfall, which later turned into an excited flurry of fat wet flakes as the night drew near.

Under the falling snowflakes, residents lined the sidewalks from Salisbury Bank & Trust at one end of Main Street all the way down to Route 22 at the other, in anticipation of the parade. It was scheduled to begin from Arnoff Moving & Storage on Route 22 and end at the Millerton firehouse at 24 Century Blvd. There was no party this year afterward due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Bundled up against the cold and checking the streets for signs of the parade’s arrival, spectators’ ears perked up with the ricochet of sirens that lit up the night. Young children stood on guard along the sidewalks, waiting to notify family and other community members of the spectacle heading their way and rejoicing when the floats appeared in the distance.

Embracing the holiday season in earnest, parade participants pulled out all the stops to decorate their vehicles and floats for a festive drive through town. A lineup of brightly illuminated fire engines from several local fire companies led the way while sounding their sirens. They were followed by a number of others eager to spread some holiday cheer from inside their cars and atop their parade floats; there were cars decked with strings of holiday lights; and even holiday characters like Santa Claus and the Grinch were spotted.

Community members appeared happy to return to their warm homes after the parade, heartened by the village’s return to its festive holiday traditions and ready to enjoy the rest of the season’s celebrations.

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