For the second year in a row, thanks to concerns surrounding Covid-19 safety, the Rotary Club of Bangor made the decision to forgo the usual "Festival Of Lights" parade that typically makes its way through the streets of Downtown Bangor. Instead, they replace it with a Festival of Lights Display Contest.

They had introduced this concept the year before when Covid was still pretty new, and it went over well.

Essentially, the Bangor Rotary Club asked for businesses, non-profits, individuals, and neighborhoods to enter their displays into a running. From those entries, a route was mapped out and made available to the public. Then folks could print off the route and visit each location, at their leisure and while maintaining Covid-19 safety protocols. Based on which ones they like the best, they could then cast a vote. There were several different categories to choose from, based on the locations of the displays.

(My kids and I enjoyed this option as it gave us something to do during some of those ho-hum winter evenings in December. We could do it at our own pace, and even split it up between a couple of nights.  We could not only do it safely but from the warmth of our van while sipping on hot chocolate and eating snacks.)

According to the Rotary Club of Bangor's Facebook Page, the event ran from December 4 through January 2.

"Held in partnership with Greater Bangor Convention and Visitors Bureau, Downtown Bangor Partnership, and Links Web Design, Rotary Club of Bangor invited businesses, non-profits, private homeowners, municipal organizations, and entire neighborhoods to create festive and colorful light displays at their own locations, and did they ever!"

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The big winner this year was, once again, the Hathaway Holiday Lights Display in Veazie, winning not only "Outstanding Non-Profit" but also "Best Overall/Fan Favorite" this year.

Here's what the full list of winners looks like:

Congrats to all the winners, and thanks for taking the time to brighten up this holiday season.

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Thank you all for sharing your brightest, most creative and breathtaking holiday light displays. You really did your part to light up towns all around Eastern Maine. Here are some of this year's entries, including that of our winner, Crystal of Hartland. Congratulations!

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