Crowds lined Loudon Road from Airport Road to the Steeplegate Mall to officially begin the 2012 Holiday Season and welcome Santa Claus to Concord.
This year's 61st annual parade to usher in the Holiday Season included a tribute to members of the military who are home this year to enjoy the holidays after being away for years. Organizer Dick Patten celebrating his 41st year as chairman also included Veterans Day seeing it was close to this year's Parade Day.
Judging by the participation from the military community and veteran organizations, I announced a Veterans Day Parade will be incorporated into the Christmas Parade. There were excellent floats this year.
The theme for this year's parade was "Welcome Home for the Holidays, Wear your Red, White, Blue and Green! The floats, general marchers, and even the animals were all decked out in their patriotic colors. To begin the parade, Molly Ricker riding in Concord Fire Department's Engine 7 from the Heights, stopped at the reviewing stand and sung the National Anthem. She did a beautiful rendition. This was a new addition. Singing the National Anthem is done in many Old Home Day Celebrations.
I think that based on the response, it will become a new addition every year. Judges Fred & Elizabeth Hast and Mark & Andrea Riel of Pittsfield have judged the parade for close to 10 years and all agreed this was the best year yet. Manchester Fire Department attended the parade for the first time in over 30 years and took home the Farthest Traveled Trophy. The VFW Post 1631 & Auxiliary won The Dick Patten Best of Show for Patriotic Entry. A list of winners will be posted soon. The Cusano Family Award for Best Business Entry went to The SPCA for their entry. Santa Claus came in courtesy of Tri State Medical Services for their beautiful float prepared for the jolly Elf from the North Pole.
Many thanks to James Cusano, who has been co-chairman for the past two years and next year will become the chairman succeeding me. I will become the chairman emeritis for my 41 years devoted to the parade. The committee consisted Don Curtis, Mark Samanski, Nazzy & Jenna, Chyl & Bob Correlis, Tom Cusano (serving 35 years), Bob Brodeur, and Debbie Patten.
The committee will hold a wrapup session at some point before setting a date and theme for the 62nd annual parade. It is tentative schedule for Nov. 23, 2013.
Please call me at 496-2917 for information.