Bangor resident Steve Gray — who most recently was part of the “This Must Be For You” downtown Small Business Saturday event — put together a video this weekend highlighting just how far downtown Bangor has come in the past 20 years. Gray put the video together with his own photos taken at Bangor’s Festival of Light parade on Dec. 7, as well as with photos by Justin Russell and video by Mike Ogilvie.
Using for narration an editorial written in 1996 by former Bangor Daily News writer Tom Hennessey that lamented the desertion of downtown, Gray presents images that contrast sharply with the portrait of a depressing ghost town that Hennessey presents. In 1996 downtown was deserted, and the parade attracted a tiny handful of spectators; in 2013 several thousand people crowded Bangor’s streets to enjoy the parade and the tree-lighting.
“He explained his vision of having someone record the voice over — it ended up being Ben’s dad, Jonathan Sprague — and then overlay it with images from today,” said Gray, by day a self-employed photographer and graphic designer. “The timing was perfect as it was the week before the Festival of Lights parade, so I ventured down to that and captured some photos… It’s been so touching and interesting seeing people share the video along with their memories of how vacant and sad downtown used to be, and how happy they are to now be a part of its resurgence.”