By Karina Sprague, Staff Writer
On Saturday afternoon, the 7 th of December, crowds lined the streets of downtown Farmington to celebrate Chester Greenwood Day. This year marked the 37th anniversary of the event. Young children lined the sidewalks, shivering a bit in the cold, but eager to watch the parade and maybe even catch a glimpse of Santa.
In 1977 the State of Maine declared December 21st Chester Greenwood Day, to honor the famous inventor of earmuffs. Farmington kicks off the holiday season with a parade to honor this famous resident and inventor each year on the first Saturday of December. Area residents enjoy the opportunity to take a break from the hustle-and-bustle of the holiday season and enjoy some quality time as a family and community.
Melissa Cushman, a local mother of two, says she brings her children to the parade every year. “It’s a great way to start the season and it gets us all in the mood for the holidays,” said Cushman.
Some highlights from this year’s parade included a horse drawn sleigh, a float filled with carolers from the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) Clef Notes, and of course, the big guy himself; Santa Clause.
As tradition has taught us, no parade is complete without a fleet of fire trucks and police cars. Only this time, in true Chester Greenwood spirit, the police cars were accessorized with over-sized earmuffs. Jazmine Gorman, a high school sophomore and Farmington resident, commented on the festivities by saying that her favorite part of the parade are the large earmuffs riding atop vehicles. “It is really cool that Chester Greenwood was so young when he invented the earmuffs. It shows people you don’t have to be an adult to do something great. And they look really funny on the cars,” said Gorman, chuckling.
The Festival of Trees is another annual Farmington event that takes place on Chester Greenwood Day. Trees are decorated by local businesses and put on display. They are then auctioned with the proceeds donated to local charities to help needy families during the holiday season.
After the parade ended, many people decided to enjoy another area tradition and warm up a bit while attending the annual holiday craft fair held in UMF’s North Dining hall. keeping with tradition there was a large selection of homemade gifts made by local crafters at this years event. This annual craft show offers area residents a local and authentic alternative to the big box stores. The large variety of crafts and gifts make it easy to find something perfect for everyone on your holiday shopping list.
Throughout the day, UMF’s acapella group, the Clef Notes, sang cheerful carols while UMF’s service fraternity, Alpha Phi Omega, served hot chocolate to cold and thirsty festival attendees. Chester Greenwood Day always draws a huge crowd from the community and the UMF community and brings out the true importance of holiday spirit, togetherness, and warm ears.