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Alum-organized dinosaur event roars through downtown Portland

A T-rex beckons to a crowd in Monument Square on Jan. 20, 2018

The large gathering of Tyrannosaurus rexes in downtown Portland that garnered national news attention Saturday was the idea of two University of Southern Maine alumnae.

Valerie Sanborn '12, of Portland, and Alison Cyr '14, of Saco, organized the Jan. 20 gathering of about three dozen people dressed in inflatable T. rex costumes in Monument Square on Facebook.

The event drew more than 100 onlookers snapping photos, videos and posting to social media as the Cretaceous creatures danced around the Portland Soldiers and Sailors Monument for which the square is named.

The point of the event? According to Cyr — other than simply, "why not?" —  to bring happiness to people in otherwise stressful times.

“With all that’s going on in the world, I made someone smile. That’s awesome,” she told Portland Press Herald reporter Penelope Overton.

Saturday’s event also earned reports in the Forecaster, ABC News,, NECNMaineToday, CBS News and WGME-13 Portland, among others.

If you missed the gathering, don’t fret: another is slated to take place June 23. Billed a T. rex “stampede,” the follow-up event will coincide with the release of “Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom”

For more photos of the prehistoric party, Sanborn and Cyr can be followed on Instagram @trexcouple.