Santa looks for parade helpers

MIKE LABELLA/Staff photoPlaster penguins created by students at Whittier Regional High School, were featured on the school's 2018 parade float. It was a highlight of that year's Santa Parade.

HAVERHILL — Santa Claus is coming to town — but he doesn't want to show up alone.

He's looking for people to help him usher the holiday season into Haverhill — with an accent on the city's heroes.

The 55th annual VFW Post 29 Santa Parade is seeking floats and other participants to be part of the event, which annually draws tens of thousands of viewers along a route that winds through Haverhill.

The parade will be held Nov. 24, the Sunday before Thanksgiving. The rain date is the following Saturday. 

This theme of this year's parade is "Santa Celebrates Haverhill's Heroes." 

"Heroes can be anyone anybody chooses them to be, whether it's a veteran, a law enforcement officer, a firefighter, a nurse, a doctor, an environmental hero, an educational hero, a community leader or anyone you want it to be,'' said parade chairman Daniel Plourde, "as long as they are from Haverhill and the floats can reflect that theme.'' 

Plourde said participants can create a float honoring their hero, they can march as group and hand out information about their hero, or residents can come up with other creative ways to honor a hero.

"I'm hoping to be surprised," Plourde said. 

Neighborhood groups, schools, churches and other organizations are invited to join the parade lineup.

"We need you — this parade is about showcasing our community and the people who live here," Plourde said, hoping to draw the public to participate in the parade.

The VFW Santa Parade, the longest running holiday tradition in Haverhill, costs about $40,000 each year, with the money paying for marching bands and other performers, as well as the Hallamore Clydesdale Horses.

The Haverhill public schools All School Marching Band does not charge for its participation, but receives a donation from the parade proceeds each year. 

"The parade is paid 100 percent from donations made by individuals, families and businesses in Haverhill, and through the several fundraisers we hold each year," Plourde said.

Those fundraisers include the Santa Parade Golf Outing, which was held Oct. 4 at the Bradford Country Club. The club sponsored the outing.

To register for this year's parade or for more information, visit online at haverhillsantaparade.com or send email to vfw29santaparade@gmail.com.

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