The 28th annual Derry Holiday Parade will kick off on Saturday, Nov. 29, at 1 p.m., ushering in the holiday season. Festivities last until 3 p.m. And Derry Parks and Recreation steps in with its Very Derry Holiday activities from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Gym and Derry Opera House.
The parade is facilitated by the Greater Derry Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, and parade organizer Steve Dente said he expects the usual 75 entries with seven bands – Londonderry High School’s Marching Lancers, Pinkerton Academy, Alvirne High School, New Hampshire State Police Bag Pipers, Windham Community Band, West Running Brook Middle School Marching Band and Gilbert H. Hood Middle School Marching Band. Monster trucks, floats, community groups, scouts and lots of costumed characters are anticipated.
This year’s theme was picked by the Holiday Parade Committee and is “Once Upon a Time – A Fairy Tale Holiday,” said Dente.
“The theme includes all the famous fairy tales, movies, theater productions and holiday stories from present to past,” Dente said. “The Chamber float this year is going to be based upon ‘Frozen,’ a very popular movie the kids all love. Bill Rockwell from Burlington Self Storage is in charge of assembly.”
Dente added that this year the parade committee is inviting all local veterans and their families to walk the parade route behind the Honor Guard at the head of the parade.
“We are looking for more participants, including anyone crafty enough to put together a float,” he said. “This can be a neighborhood group, or any organization or business that might be interested in joining us. Taking part in the parade is free and everyone is welcome to join. We are also looking for band sponsors, as their transportation is the major cost of the parade.”
The costs associated with the parade are covered by donations; the Chamber has no financial role but organizes and facilitates the event, Dente said.
Following the parade, Derry Parks and Recreation sponsors its annual Very Derry Holiday activities from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Veterans Memorial Gym on West Broadway. Children and their families can decorate cookies, have their faces painted, or make wooden toys.
Between 3 and 5 p.m. at the Derry Opera House on West Broadway, Santa and Mrs. Claus will meet with children and parents in a Parks and Recreation-sponsored event. Photos with Santa will be available for $5.
For parade-related information, including registration forms, visit www.gdlchamber.org. For other in- formation, call the Chamber office at 432-8205 or email [email protected].
“I like to say the parade brings out all the good things the area has to offer,” said Dente. “When you get top class bands, scouts, church groups, service groups, dance groups, businesses, pageant winners of all ages, to come together to welcome in the season together, that is ‘community’ defined.”