Hot off of a successful Halloween, the residents of the Fairmount Park area in Bangor are shifting gears to what's become a new tradition in the area: The Fairmount Neighborhood Holiday Light Fight.
Light Fight organizer and Fairmount Park resident, Emilie Adams Bronson Blair, says the original idea for the event came about last year, at Halloween actually, as the pandemic ramped up.
"I had wanted to create a map for Halloween so that we would know who wanted to participate and who had socially distanced candy giving. Everyone is really excited to come together as a neighborhood and make sure that things weren't too different for kids."
After Halloween, when the Annual Bangor Rotary Club's "Festival of Lights Parade" was canceled, she got an idea from a social media post a neighbor had put up about wanting to make the holidays a little cheerier for folks at a nearby nursing home who couldn't venture out due to Covid-19 concerns.
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"I thought it would be a good idea to further encourage neighborhood camaraderie. I've secretly always wanted to live in one of those neighborhoods where everyone has fun competition during the holidays. So I just kind of put it out there in the Facebook groups and let people know that if they didn't want to compete but they wanted to be on our neighborhood map they were more than welcome to do that and for people with a competitive streak we could make it a competition."
Once the post was up, Blair started to get submissions. Then she got busy planning.
"I did it myself with some help from my husband last year. A couple of neighbors that were very into it last year reached out a few months ago so I have been having them help me refine the process for this year. I had opened up submissions starting at the beginning of November but I think that it was a little too early so this year I've just told everyone we are doing it again and we open up the sign-ups in 2 weeks."
How can folks get involved with the Fairmount Park Neighborhood Light Fight? It's pretty simple, actually. If you live in the neighborhood, you can sign right up. If you don't, but you want to help out, you can vote for your favorite display!
"Starting December 1st people can go around our neighborhood and judge for themselves. There will be a Google form for voting. Last year I just put every single house in every category but this year I am asking for the creators to decide which categories they'd like to be entered in. There are things like brightest display, most understated, most colorful, best theme. We also did favorite street so that neighbors that want to coordinate together can."
Blair says she hopes more Fairmount residents are inspired to take part this year, and that this little corner of Bangor can help folks across Eastern Maine get into the holiday spirit, by providing a little bit of light.
"Last year we had 28 houses in the competition and we're hoping to match if not exceed that number this year. We all just love the season and the joy it brings and want to spread that throughout our neighborhood as well as to anyone who wants to come enjoy everyone's hard work!"