The Presque Isle Holiday Light Parade is this Saturday! Here's a guide on how to have an optimal Christmas parade experience along with a map of the parade route.

Growing up in Presque Isle and going to the Light Parade on Main St. with my friends was always a blast. Scrambling for candy and ducking in and out of local businesses to get warm.

I was lucky enough to have friends whose parents worked at a downtown office where I could watch the parade from the comfort of a couch out the front window.

Years later I had the responsibility to film the parade and one year I set off my car alarm in the Riverside parking lot. Very embarrassing...

Since having kids I now have the privilege of bringing them to the parade. I've learned you need a plan of attack before spending an evening in the cold in order to have an optimal Christmas parade experience.

The 24th Annual Holiday Light Parade will start an hour earlier this year at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, December 7th. Lineup will begin at 4:30 in the North Street Health Care parking lot. The parade will proceed south on Main Street to Clukey’s Auto Supply for the lighting of the Tree of Hope and then continue to Gentile Hall at the University of Maine at Presque Isle.

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    Base Camp

    Grab a nice parking spot before the parade begins and make that your base camp. If you have to park a fair distance from Main Street and don't want to brave the cold, then find out if there's a place where you can hunker down inside. Perhaps a business with a view. If it was me I'd take a seat at McDonalds. There's a view, a parking lot, it's close to where the parade begins (which means you can go home sooner) and there's hot beverages!

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    Front Line

    If you're prepared to stand out in the cold (it seems to get colder every year) then you need to arrive early and grab a spot where someone won't block your view. I suggest bringing foldable camp chairs. Dress appropriately and bring a stadium blanket. Make sure you're a safe distance from the floats, but close enough to grab candy (and sometimes pencils, seriously who the heck hands out pencils). And try not to sit behind a car that's running. Exhaust fumes are no fun.

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    Get yourself a heavy duty thermos and fill that sucker full of hot cocoa.

    If you've got kids, fill your pockets with candy just in case they don't get a chance to snag any or you just don't want them getting too close to the floats.
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    Don't forget your camera! You want to remember this year's Light Parade don't you?

    If you're an avid photographer don't forget your tripod! Set that sucker up next to your camp chair and let 'er roll.

    Don't forget it's going to be dark out so make sure your camera can perform well in low light. Click here for some low light filming tips!

    Careful with the cold, it might do a number on your camera's battery.