Drouin Dance Center students Stella Crawford and Brook Chaisson, left, owner Danielle Drouin, and students Ashley Keef and Mackinna Campbell pose behind a flocking sample at the Westbrook studio. Chance Viles / American Journal

Students at the Drouin Dance Center say they are excited for the return of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade trip, which was canceled last year due to COVID-19.

Every two years or so since 2011, the center sends about 20 dancers to perform in the parade in New York City, where they also attend a Broadway show, a Radio City Rockettes performance and other classic Big Apple events.

This year, 22 Drouin dancers are headed to the parade.

Westbrook dancer and recent high school graduate Ashley Keef said the parade will be her big send-off, because after this year, she will no longer be a student dancer.

“My favorite part is going to be meeting other dancers from around the world and just getting to know people. This is sort of my last big hurrah,” Keef said.

The trip costs about $2,500 per dancer, according to dance center owner Danielle Drouin.

To raise money, dancers have begun a “flocking” campaign, where someone pays them to sneakily cover the yard of a home with pink flamingos overnight.

“It’s fun, we get in the car wearing all black and head out late at night so we don’t get caught,” said dancer Stella Crawford of Cape Elizabeth.

Crawford, joined by some parents and other dancers, say they have flocked yards in Gray, Buxton, Windham, Falmouth, Yarmouth, Westbrook, Portland and more.

“It’s been a hit, we are booked for a month out,” Drouin said.

Flocking a yard costs $20, while flocking them anonymously costs $25. For someone who wants to make sure they never get flocked, a $30 protection fee is available.

“People love it and it’s been a lot of fun,” Drouin said. “It has just caught on so well.”

Sometimes the flocking recipients get irritated, especially if they want to mow their lawn, she said, but that is a small minority.

The flocking has raised about $1,400 so far and the team is still looking for more participants or donors.

“I really look forward to checking out New York, I haven’t been since I was young and to meet dancers from around the world and country is pretty unique,” said Mackinna Campbell of Westbrook.

Brooke Chaison of Portland also looks forward to meeting other dancers.

“I am excited to go and create new memories,” she said. “Normally when competing it’s us versus them, but this is nice because we can all meet and get out of that competitive mode.”

To donate or learn more about flocking, visit drouindancecenter.com.

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