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  • Writer's pictureAmarinda Keys

Behind the Scenes: Meet the Light Up The Town Judges!

Fourth place: "The Spirit of Griswold"

This holiday season, the museum encouraged individuals and businesses to decorate their properties and fill the entire town with lights. The registrations were collected and added to a beautifully hand-drawn city-wide map, which was distributed to the community to enjoy. In place of the Parade of Lights, where decorated floats travel down Main Street, the idea for this event came in 2020 as a way to keep the holiday spirit alive in a safe, COVID-friendly way. To view the map, visit

To add another layer of fun, this event included a little bit of competition. This year, our judges visited the houses to identify a top ten, top five and top three. Our top five houses received a special visit from Santa and Mrs. Claus, and our top three were hand-delivered presents from the jolly couple.

This year our judges included folks connected to the Children’s Museum as well as representatives from the event's Major Sponsors:

Rick Bryant Children’s Discovery Museum Board of Directors

Mike Loubier (& his wife, CDM Board member Meg) with Major Sponsor Central Maine Motors

Jamie Plourde Children’s Discovery Museum Board of Directors

Caitlin Walker Children’s Discovery Museum Community Programs and Relations Coordinator

Molly Woodward with Major Sponsor Bangor Savings Bank

Greg Zimba with Major Sponsor T-Mobile

plus map artist Serena Sanborn Children's Discovery Museum Board of Directors

We sat down with this year’s judges, as well as the talented creator of the map, to learn a little more about them:

Rick Bryant While Rick is involved in many aspects of the Children's Discovery Museum, the holiday events are his favorite! Rick is like this event's head elf and coordinates the rest of the judges and gathering together the top lists.

What is your favorite part of working on these holiday events? "I just love being a part of bringing holiday magic to people and helping to brighten the smiles on children's faces. It's really the best!"

Mike (& Meg) Loubier Mike was selected to represent Major Sponsor Central Maine Motors and brought his family and wife, Meg, who is on the museum Board of Directors.

What's your favorite holiday tradition? “I love making oreo balls and cookies with the kids and delivering them to our neighbors. We are a musical family and I love singing Christmas carols in the living room with everyone on Christmas day.”

Jamie Plourde “[This was my] first year as a judge – I am on the Board of the Children’s Museum, so Amarinda asked me to participate. The best part is just seeing how creative everyone is – fun to see the twist they each put on it.”

What's your favorite holiday tradition? “Christmas cookies are a big deal with my family – so that’s always a fun memory making them with my Memere when I was young and now my mother does it on a larger scale with many of our friends and family members. (Cookies by the hundred! )”

Caitlin Walker “This is my first year as a judge, and I'm so glad I was able to participate... all the houses looked so good!! The hardest part of judging is not knowing how much technical skill went into some of the displays... like if the animated ones were a kit or if they were DIY. My favorite holiday tradition is making ridiculous amounts of Christmas candy.”

Molly Woodward Molly works at Bangor Savings Bank and she is a vibrant lover of all things holiday! Her enthusiasm made working with her so much fun. This was her first year as a judge, and she said “I am thrilled to be involved through Bangor Savings Bank’s continued support of the Children’s Discovery Museum.” Thank you, Molly!

What's the hardest or best part of judging? “This year as a judge I was so thrilled to have the opportunity to go out and see all the wonderful displays from our community members. My family all came together and made this a part of our Thanksgiving Family Holiday Festivities. We all loaded up in the cars and convoyed around the towns to see all the lights together. It was a truly memorable night!”

Greg Zimba Greg was approached to represent Major Sponsor T-Mobile. He was the perfect choice because of his involvement in many community events and his connection with the Mid Maine Chamber of Commerce.

What was the hardest part of judging? “The hardest part of judging is taking into account the amount of work required to pull off some of the amazing scenes. A company with a big display may not win out over a couple/small family who had to put many hours into the project.”

What was your favorite part? “Honestly, driving around, cranking Christmas music and seeing all the decorations, with a perfect amount of snow on the ground.”

Behind the Map:

Serena Sanborn:

Serena in her Easter Bonnet!

“The map takes me a full three days of work (which often stretches over a week) as I use google to map out the addresses and then tackle each neighborhood one by one. I do an overview sketch with points on the map and keep adding details as I go. Once I have a pencil sketch, I add watercolor and once that is dry, I add the ink pen details. I double check each point on the map more than once!

I did the map this year and last, the only years we have done it. I love making maps and used to make one for a local art studio tour. Maps can be such lovely things- full of markers for historic places, community spaces, and natural features. I love to add the rivers, lakes, and streams of our area. (Waterville is named so well!)

I love making art and I am largely self-taught. I love snow sculpting, pumpkin carving, and printmaking.

My favorite holiday tradition is carving pumpkins. I use printmaking tools to carve them and enjoy showing others how this technique works and makes a pumpkin awesome. A close second is making Easter bonnets.”

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