The holiday season is inching closer and closer, and while many things like the first snowfall, Christmas music and Salvation Army bell ringers are seen as the heralds of the season, Derry also has its own way of kicking things off.
As such, the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce is currently preparing for its thirty first Holiday Parade, taking place on November 25 at 1 PM.
Stephen Dente, who currently serves as the Chairman for the parade’s committee, noted that once the chamber took over duties for the parade around three decades ago, they used the parade as a way to kick off the holiday business season.
With less than three weeks until the parade the chamber still has plenty on its plate to take care of, although duties will be handled by the Derry Village Rotary Club.
Dente and the chamber are already ahead of schedule when compared to last year, with groups like the Greater Derry Boys and Girls Club usually providing their services. All eight bands that typically offer their services for the event have already signed on again for this year, and the likes of Artful Things of New Hampshire and the Merrimack Valley Credit Union will also be involved. But although plenty of people are willing to help out year after year, it is still always important to get the word out.
“You still have to refresh people about what’s going on”, Dente stated.
Dente noted, however, that the chamber tries to focus mostly on getting help from community groups and charitable organizations, ensuring that funds that are provided to these groups in the process will in turn be put back into Derry. But although fundraising is slightly behind where the chamber would like to be at the moment, they have already received help from the First Baptist Church Food Pantry, who will be supplying a float for the parade.
And speaking of floats, they are key to the parade, but although the chamber is not too worried about them at the moment, they still have some rules in mind that they require participants to work with. Dente believes that any float should be decorated for the holidays and fit in with the theme of this year’s parade, which is “The Sights and Sound of the Holidays.” They also ask that no participant dress as Santa Claus, as the very end of the parade typically features Saint Nick.
Other than that, however, the chamber is giving those involved free reign to produce whatever they see fit, as the theme of this year leaves a lot of room for creative freedom, as prior years have been a testament to.
“Usually, [the floats] are pretty creative”, Dente noted.
For more information on how to apply as a volunteer or register a float for the parade, please contact the chamber office at (603) 432-8205 or Dente at (603) 589-8170.