The streets in Historic Chatham Business District (HCBD) was lined with families, friends and new friends as they waited in anticipation for the arrival of Santa in the 33rd Annual Parade of Lights. They were not disappointed.
In advance the parade several members of the HCBD hosted open houses to welcome everyone to the Downtown.Participating in the open houses was the Miramichi Regional Multicultural Association, All Decked Out, Blush Beauty Bar, and Open-Door Antiques. Gary and Joan Blackmore co-owners of All Decked Out stated “We have done this for several years and it allows a place for parade watchers to warm up, have a cookie and see our inventory for the holiday season. It is a win win for everyone. We always look forward to hosting this open house on parade night”
The parade started forming up around 5:30 with judging starting at 6:00 sharp, Judges Paddy Quinn, from 95.9 Sun FM, Councillor Chad Duplessie and assisting was Edie Duplessie. The entries were beyond expectations, with the lights,music and the participation from the youth and their enthusiasm for the Holiday season.
The parade left James M Hill High School parking lot at 6:30 pm. Miramichi Police Force, Sgt. R. Bruce coordinated the traffic control and flow of the parade to ensure safety of everyone attending and participating. The Miramichi Police Force was assisted by the NBCC Police Foundation students. The students gained some valuable on the job training, interacting with the public and traffic control. Public Works also ensured the safety of the public by widening some road, sanding the sidewalk and roads were needed. Everyone’s goal was safety. In addition, the Historic Chatham Business District with the local media did a stronger awareness of the policy of no throwing candy from a moving vehicle. The organizing committee would like to thank the participates in abiding to the policy.
A tradition within the HCBD Parade of Lights is the food drive. This was carried out by the staff at Pizza Delight and Miramichi Leader Elves. Brian Geneau, owner of Pizza Delight stated, “This was well received this year, and thanks everyone who contributed a non-perishable food item to the drive. The food was delivered to the Christmas Food Hampers”
The parade would proceed to Downtown where the crowds were deep and full of excitement. Music on the front street was provided by O’Donaghue’s Irish Pub. John O’Sheafrom 99.3 The River was announcing the entries and the parade winners. Trophies were handed out by Anne Bracken, HCBD board member.
The winners are as follow:
Best Overall – DTI and Miramichi Panthers Hockey Team
Commercial – L.J. Patterson Sales and Service and Glamour Salon and Spa
Non- Commercial – Miramichi Police and Fire Departments and James M Hill High School
Service Clubs – Special Olympics 2019 Winter Float and Pentecostals of Miramichi
Horses – Gayle Govereau with horse Tia
Honorable Mention – William Duplessis with his restored Horse Drawn Carriage and Tractor
The spectators who waited patiently were not disappointed when Mrs. Claus and Santa arrived in a traditional horse drawn wagon with arching white lights and decoration in red and green. Santa favorite colours. Santa was overwhelmed with the attendance at the parade and enjoyed seeing the children of the Miramichi and surrounding area.
Mavis Williamson, General Manger for Historic Chatham Business District, was pleased how the event unfolded. It was wonderful having so many businesses, service clubs,government representatives and city departments creating a special evening. Safety was primary concern as it was in the past and we appreciate everyone’s attention to making the parade a safe, fun filled, family event. Merry Christmas