Hamilton Santa Claus Parade History
Below are some Hamilton Santa Claus Parade press mentions that we've come across. Many thanks to the librarians in the Special Collections Department of the Hamilton Public Library.
"Youngsters Give Santa Royal Welcome To City", trumpeted the Spectator on November 15, 1949. "Long before the parade hour of 9:30 a.m., thousands of his fans, young and young in heart, lined the parade route in spite of chilly wind and cloudy sky." The 1949 route saw the parade begin at Maple Avenue and Gage Park, follow Maple to Sherman, then turn west on Main to James Street. The final destination was Robinson's Department Store.
Cheers erupted when the Sea Cadets band appeared, signaling the commencement of the procession. The parade included bands, floats containing well-known fairy tale characters, some of whom jumped down to shake hands with the kids. The bands included the Sea Cadets, Westinghouse Veterans, Corps of Imperial Frontiersmen, Air Force and pipers of The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders and Dofasco and a group of drum majorettes.
"One particularly effective personality," the Spectator reporter noted, "was the Doodle Bug, a large green dragon whose ears flapped as he walked. Other floats were a Viking Ship, the Pied Piper and His Rats, piping as he rode, and a sinister witch with her poisoned apple."
The biggest cheers were reserved for Santa Claus, who waved and called greetings to all from his reindeer-drawn sleigh.
On November 18, 1950, thousands packed the parade route along Main Street from Gage to Victoria Park. Children cheered when clowns and a host of fairyland characters appeared. They clapped at the Monkey Band, the Elephant Band, Cinderella and her Prince Charming, the Big Bad Wolf, the Three Little Pigs, Old King Cole and His Fiddlers Three, the Old Woman in the Shoe, and many others. Robinson's Department Store provided a striking troupe of majorettes who marched to the tune of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town." "They were attractive but also very patriotic- their legs being various shades of red, white, and blue as the brisk November air struck them," the Spectator reporter observed.
The R.H.L.I., Imperial Frontiersmen and R.C.A.F. Bands provided stirring holiday music, but it was drowned out when Santa appeared. He was in his reindeer-drawn sleigh, Mrs. Claus by his side. One little boy was so excited that he howled, "I seed him! I seed him! There's Santy! There's Santy! What's he going to bring me, Mommy?"
Streets near the parade route were tangled with traffic, but no one seemed to mind. One good-natured motorist joked, "First time I ever parked in the middle of James Street!"
On the morning of November 7, 1953, Santa Claus arrived in town via special train over the Toronto, Hamilton, and Buffalo Railway. He was met in Gore Park by over a thousand excited youngsters and the R.C.A.F. band.
Leonard Eames, president of the Hamilton Downtown Association (which sponsored the parade), interviewed Santa, who assured the kids, ""Don't worry if your house does not have a chimney and fireplace. I'll be there on Christmas Eve all the same."
1953's parade route began at Charles and Hunter Streets at 8:40 a.m., proceeded along Hunter to John, went north on John to King, and ended at Gore Park, where a program took place.
On November 13, 1954, Santa stepped out of his special Arctic Flyer at the TH&B just before 9:00 a.m. A severe frost had descended on the city the night before, but that did not deter the crowds.
Accompanied by the Delta Secondary Band, drum majorettes, and a police escort, Santa smiled and waved at the waiting youngsters. Pandemonium reigned when he stepped from his convertible at Gore Park and walked to a special platform at Hughson and King. After being formally welcomed by Mayor Jackson, he spoke to the enthralled children, reminding them that the holiday season means more than just new toys.
"If you don't get all the presents you have been hoping and longing for, take it in the spirit of Christmas," he said. He then went on to headline free Christmas shows at the Odeon Capitol, Odeon-Palace, and Century.
December 14, 1957 played host to the second annual "Christmas Safety Parade", the Santa Claus parade as organized by the Hamilton Safety League in co-operation with the Hamilton and District Trucking Industry Council and Hamilton Police Safety Division.
The December 7 edition of the Spectator outlined the intended route: "The parade can be seen on December 14 along the following route: Cannon to Wellington to King to Locke to York to James to Main to John to Cannon to Ottawa to the rear of the Shopping Centre."
The 34-unit parade included military, business, and police representation, as the underlying theme was public safety. Children cheered for Santa and clapped at the sight of the majorettes, the RCSCC "Lion" Band, and clowns, and a drum band. For the grownups, there were special floats reminding them to indulge in responsible celebrating.
The Spectator reporter wrote, "One of the ingenious floats... was one with a real cell on the platform, and, behind the bars, a supposed example of the drinking driver." An oil company float carried a sign stating, "Alcohol and gasoline won't mix" and a fuel company display cautioned onlookers, "Don't be a fool with fuel."
All children along the route were given candy canes and balloons. A few hundred small footballs were also tossed out.
The highlight of the December 13 Santa Parade was eight live reindeer that led the string of floats and costumed performers. The procession started at the James Street Armories, went south on James to King, then east to Catharine Street, south to Main, east to Ottawa Street, and then north to the shopping centre. Brightly dressed clowns handed candy canes and balloons to the children, who were just as entranced by the mounted cowboys and Indians as they were by Santa and the reindeer.
In the days leading up to the event, the public was invited to the Sherman Avenue police station to view a film of the 1957 parade.
1959 Parade Route (click to enlarge)
The 1959 parade contained 43 units and 600 participants. Santa and his reindeer rode atop a giant float that was 50 feet long and 14 feet high. Humpty Dumpty, Jack-In-The-Box, rabbits, and other animals delighted all the kids. Also participating were 24 saddle horses, seven bands, six corps of majorettes, and Miss Dominion of Canada (Eileen Butter of Ancaster).
City Hall steps were roped off and reserved for handicapped children as well as children from the Easthaven School.
This year witnessed the biggest crowd of parade spectators yet. Officials estimated the total to be over 50,000. Sgt. Jack Tremblay, chief of the Hamilton Police Department Safety Division, said, "I've never seen spectators jammed so thick at a procession there."
Heading the procession were Spectator carrier boys dressed as clowns, and cowboys and cowgirls on horseback. They were followed by the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps, a band, and a float containing a lovely girl named Queen of the Snow. Santa was greeted with squeals of delights from the kids, who were equally thrilled with the 12,000 balloons and candy canes that costumed characters gave out.
"The Music Man never saw the like of it," enthused Alan Morton of the Spectator. "In the biggest, splashiest, drum-blowingest parade yet, Hamilton welcomed Santa Claus to town."
The 1961 parade saw safety mascot Elmer the Elephant share star billing with Santa Claus. For the first time, the Ontario Provincial Police entered a float, which was a replica of their new building in Dundas. The O.P.P. also sponsored the Georgetown Girl Pipe Band, which was escorted on the route by two motorcycle policemen. There were 140 Spectator paperboys and girls dressed as clowns, 530 majorettes from seven organizations, and floats that included the Hamilton Obedience Club, where twenty dogs were led by city police dog Sandy. Seven year old Heather Hutchison, international baton champion, complained briefly about the cold before performing for the delighted crowd.
On November 17, Santa Claus waved to his thousands of cheering admirers from a lofty position atop the Spectator float. Heading the parade were cars carrying civic dignitaries such as Mayor Lloyd Jackson, Police Chief Leonard Lawrence, Fire Chief Reg Swanborough, and Inspector I.R. Robbie of the O.P.P.'s Burlington detachment. Men cheered especially loudly for the three beauty queens who made an appearance- Ingrid Osmolowsky, 1961's Miss Grey Cup and Miss Tiger-Cat; June Leggat, Miss Tiger-Cat 1962, and Elizabeth Cook, Miss Niagara Grape Festival Queen.
Many Hamilton organizations presented beautiful winter and Christmas scenes in their floats. United Gas and Fuel depicted "Jack Frost Fantasy", Boy Scouts sang around a campfire, and Girl Guides performed Christmas carols near a nativity scene.
Gerald McAuliffe of the Spectator pronounced the November 14, 1964 Santa Claus Parade to be the "biggest and most successful Santa Claus Parade ever held in Hamilton's history."
Cheers of excitement exploded along James Street as the police escort left the Armories to lead the parade. There were twenty-six brightly decorated floats, 125 clowns, and 500 musicians divided into 13 bands.
On King Street, the crowd stood eight deep. Two year old James Walker, who'd gotten so tired of waiting for Santa that he'd plunked himself down on the sidewalk, perked up when he saw Saint Nick. His eyes "lighted up like stars", according to the paper.
Next to Santa, the children were thrilled the most by the dogs who appeared on behalf of the Hamilton Obedience Club. McAuliffe wrote, "Little girls touched the cold nose of the big Saint Bernard dog and the miniature French poodles looked like they were freezing in the 40 degree temperature."
1968 Parade Route- click to enlarge
By the time two clowns left the James Street North Armories to herald the commencement of the parade, crowds along the route were four and five deep. Almost all streets except those on the route were deserted.
The parade participants were full of Christmas spirit as well. Three year old majorette Carol Hill explained, "I came to help Santa Claus."
Spectators laughed at the sight of a chihuahua marching behind a Golden Retriever, clapped at the Noah's Ark float provided by the Hamilton SPCA, sang along with Puff the Magic Dragon in the United Gas Company's float, ogled at the racecars carrying Miss Hamilton Yvonne Buys and Miss Tiger-Cat Kathy Cummings, and went wild over Santa Claus and his reindeer.
"I always say I'm gonna stay in bed, but here I am every year standing in the cold," one housewife was heard commenting to another. "I must be a kid."
On October 22, 1970, it was announced that Hamilton's Christmas Parade will be confined to the Mountain and would not pass through the downtown. The event, which was organized by the Mountain Business Men's Association, was scheduled for November 21. The intended route was along Upper James Street to Fennell Avenue, then east to Upper Ottawa Street. As of the Spectator article's publication date, the city had donated $1500 for the parade and gotten confirmation for eighteen floats and a dozen bands.
On November 2, the Spectator informed readers that Santa would arrive in Hamilton via Nordair Jet at 8:15 a.m. on November 21. From there, he would travel to the Mountain Arena in time for the parade's 10:00 a.m. commencement.
On November 3, Spectator readers were intrigued to read that in this year's Parade, Santa Claus would be accompanied by a robot. Promo the Robot and his sidekick, Dave Thomas, from the WKBW-TV morning show Rocketship Seven, were honorary parade marshals.
Hugh Gordon, president of the Mount Hamilton Businessmen's Association, said that the parade, which was scheduled to leave Fennell Avenue and West Fifth Street, follow a three mile route, and finish at Fennell and Upper Gage, would last about two hours and contain 110 groups. "Of course, Santa and his elves will be there for all the good boys and girls," the Spectator added.
"Cold wait worth it" announced the November 15, 1976 edition of the Spectator. "Bands, floats, and majorettes ushered in the grand arrival of Santa Claus as a record crowd of 115,000 people watched the city's annual Christmas parade Sunday in near-freezing weather," the article went on to state.
Excited youngsters and tolerant, good-natured parents lined Fennell Avenue, waiting for Santa. One little girl at West 5th Street, insulated against the cold by a thick blanket that also sheltered her sister, kept asking, "When's he coming?" When Santa finally appeared, the kids tossed their blankets aside and shrieked, "Hi, Santa!!"
The parade had more than 129 participants- it included thirty floats, twenty-two bands, clowns and TV characters, and cars containing public figures and dignitaries. Children shouted excited greetings to Mickey Mouse, Big Bird, and other favorites. Home owners along Fennell Avenue to Upper Gage, where the parade finally dispersed, watched from their windows and verandahs.
"Star Wars rivals Frosty as a popular parade figure," John Kernaghan wrote in the November 12, 1979 edition of the Spectator. Most kids stated that Frosty was their favorite parade character next to Santa, but Darth Vader earned enough applause to rank a close third.
The procession started at Mohawk and followed Fennell Avenue to Upper Gage. The weather was cool but not windy, which pleased Santa to no end. "That wind can play havoc with my beard, blowing it up into my face so I can't see," he said.
The Newman Express to Kidsville was hugely popular thanks to the free candy canes and balloons that it dispensed. The Broadway Cinema float, which did a rendition of Jaws by fixing a paper mache snout and teeth to a Volkswagen, also thrilled the kids.
Ed Cummings, the parade chairman, initially feared a washout because of a recent period of prolonged rain, but the day of the parade was bright and sunny, and upwards of 80,000 people turned out to watch the spectacle. Mr. Cummings estimated that between 1300 and 1500 people were involved in the 26 floats, 17 bands, 18 majorette troupes, and assorted individual entrants.
"The vehicle doesn't exist that wasn't represented in the parade- rolling, steaming, sailing, flying, pedaling, chugging or trotting past the 100,000 admirers," reporter Mary K. Nolan wrote after witnessing the 1980 Hamilton Santa Claus parade. "There was a clown on a tractor, a mayor in a Mercedes, a beauty queen in a sports car. Policemen drove mini-bikes, a robot rode in a vintage chevy, cowboys mounted horses and clowns skittered along on roller skates."
Santa and his reindeer commanded the adoration of parents and kids alike despite some pretty spectacular competition. BJ Birdy, the Toronto Blue Jays mascot, Kermit the Frog, and Miss Piggy marched along with real animals, such as a lion cub and a brandy-toting Saint Bernard dog. An 1897 steam calliope whistled up a storm. The bands played everything "from accordions to brass to bagpipes," according to Nolan. "When the Shriners Ramses Oriental Band marched by, swathed in Arab garb and playing Eastern music, the crowd almost seemed to be waiting for an asp to slink out of a basket."
1981 Parade Route- click to enlarge
The 1981 Hamilton Santa Claus Parade experienced a turnout of over 100,000 spectators. It featured 22 local and out-of-town bands, 37 floats, Mayor Bill Powell, and of course Santa Claus himself! The honorary parade marshall was 10 year old Tiffany Kowalshyn, who was Miss Easter Seal.
The extravaganza began at 10:45 a.m., and left from the corner of York Boulevard and Queen Street. The Burlington Teen Tour Band, the Ridge Raiders, and the O.P.P. Golden Helmets were among the featured performers. The excited kids munched on free candy canes as they watched cartoon characters, both antique and modern fire engines, floats, bands, majorettes, a steam engine, and vintage cars and trucks roll by.
Eleven year old Jodee Monkhouse told the Spectator reporter that all she wanted for Christmas was "an apple." She then clarified that she meant an Apple II- the latest home computer to hit the market.
1982 Parade Route- click to enlarge
The 1982 Hamilton Santa Claus Parade took place on November 20 at 10:45 a.m. There had been much publicity generated over the fact that Hamilton's parade would surpass Toronto's in quality if not quantity.
"Now that Toronto's has become a community event- just as ours always have been- they are going to have trouble keeping up with us even though their parade may be longer," Ed Cummings announced at a press conference held at Hamilton Place.
Highlights included Santa Claus (Hamilton's Jimmy Lomax) and his ever-popular reindeer, the Golden Helmets, the O.P.P. motorcycle team, steam engines, antique cars, and majorettes. Both CHCH-TV and Cable Four covered the event.
Children were among the crowds that gathered along the parade route long before the 11:00 a.m. commencement. They were eager to see Santa Claus. "I bet he'll be the best thing in the whole parade," five year old Sammy Teichman declared.
Mayor Bob Morrow rode in an open green El-Dorado, right behind a banner that read "All The Way Tiger-Cats". Kids appreciated the 19 bands, 15 majorette groups, 50 floats, and 150 clowns, but the strongest cheers were for the sixteen Great Pyrenees dogs in red bibs and jackets. One even pulled a small cart.
"Everything went without a hitch- though I bet this is one of the coldest days we've ever had for the parade," Ed Cummings said.
1984 Parade Route- click to enlarge
1984's annual Hamilton Santa Claus Parade had over 130 entries, including 21 bands, 35 floats, 20 antique and decorated cars, 100 clowns, and over 50 horses. Santa Claus himself brought up the rear.
The biggest entry came from the Shriners- it contained 200 people and included mini-cars, mini-bikes, a band, four floats, and some rickshaws. Before the procession commenced at 10:45 a.m., candy was handed out to the eager children.
The 1985 parade witnessed a day of pouring rain, but parents and kids didn't seem to mind the soggy wait for Santa. Some floats seemed prepared for the weather- Ollie the Otter from the Wild Waterworks was unfazed by the rain, and the Hamilton Beach Rescue Unit volunteers rode in the Beach Police Patrol Boat! Donald Duck enjoyed the downpour, but the same could not be said of Minnie Mouse and Tweetie Bird.
"Frostie the Snowman looked a little worried, sitting with Mrs. Santa Claus in a float by the parade committee," Carol Corley from the Spectator observed.
There were 110 entries, including Santa. The Ticats Golden Girls were a big hit despite their soggy pom-poms.
"Santa's coming- in style!" declared the Spectator on November 7, the day before the 1986 Hamilton Santa Claus Parade. This marked the first year that Santa got his own permanent float, and not a borrowed sleigh or something thrown together at the last minute.
The parade was broadcast live by CHCH TV from a reviewing stand outside Hamilton Place.
The 1987 Hamilton Santa Claus Parade had special meaning for the Hodder family, who hailed originally from Newfoundland. The parents and infant son played the role of Joseph, Mary, and Jesus on the Peoples Church float. "We never had these things back in Newfoundland," Mrs. Hodder said. "We saw them on T.V., but we never thought we'd be in one."
Four year old Roderick Smith said he found the parade "yummy." "I like all the fire engines too... and the pirate ship." The adults also expressed enjoyment. "We're all big kids at heart," said Brenda Marshall. "And it seems (the parade) is just getting better and better... at least they're playing Christmas music this year."
"For the old people, it brings back memories of when we were kids," commented 65 year old Alice Cooper, who smiled in recognition at the sight of an old milk wagon that was part of the Royal Oak Dairy Float.
Despite a brisk and frosty day, people along the route for the 1988 parade were crowded three and four deep. The ninety-minute procession included 42 floats, 21 bands (including the Burlington Teen Tour Band and the Top Hat Orchestra), as well as antique cars, clowns, horses, cartoon characters, and baton twirlers.
A popular favorite was the Stelco float, which depicted a street scene from Dickens' England, all done up in steel.
"Finally," went the Spectator article, "as the words 'Where's Santa?' were quickly becoming the most oft heard question of the day, the guest of honor arrived to a chorus of high-pitched greetings."
The 1989 Hamilton Santa Claus Parade began at 9:45 a.m. While TV cameras from CHCH TV and Cable 14 filmed, the procession left Queen and Main, traveled east on Main to Catharine, then turned north. It proceeded west along King and then north on Bay. It finally ended on York Boulevard.
1989's honorary parade marshal was Tiger-Cat owner David Braley. Popular floats included the Stelco Hilton Works animated Dickens Christmas Scene, and the Hillcrest Middle School depiction of Christmas among the Huron Indians.
There was a lot for the crowds to look at during the 1991 Hamilton Santa Claus Parade. A Shriners band was decked out in robes and gold shoes; there were marching bands, clog dancers, pipe and drum corps, and clowns. At around 11:30 a.m. a man with a small child on his shoulders declared, "There he is over on Main Street." That meant only one thing- Santa!
Santa Claus waved from his position high up on his shiny red sleigh. As he passed, he spotted a police sergeant parked at King and McNab Streets. His eyes twinkled with mischief, and he shouted, "Be a good boy, now, Gerry, and you'll get that toupee!"
Seventeen bands helped keep spectators warm by playing such lively Christmas tunes that dancing was irresistible. Suzanne Morrison from the Spectator wrote, "A float with some of the best toe-tapping music belonged to the Hamilton-Wentworth Old Tyme Fiddlers Association, whose rendition of 'Jingle Bells' would have put even the most miserly Scrooge into the Christmas spirit."
The Kinette Club of Hamilton collected food donations along the route, and $658 cash was also donated. Everything was ultimately distributed among St. Matthew's House, the Neighbour-to-Neighbour Centre, and the Good Shepherd Centre.
Youngsters became so impatient while waiting for Santa to make his grand entrance that they started rushing to shake the hand of a policeman who walked up and down the line of packed, eager people. Eight year old Alanna Applewhaite said she liked the dancers best, but was definitely there to see Santa first and foremost.
"I can't wait to see him!" she squealed. She sat on the Canadian Bible Society float the previous year, and confided that she wished she was back in the parade this year.
It was also a wonderful day for the Kinette Club, which collected over 100 cases of food for local food banks, as well as $1600 cash.
For the first time in its history, the Hamilton Santa Claus Parade was graced by a deputy prime minister- MPP Sheila Copps rode down Main Street in the back of a Volkswagen convertible.
The Christmas carols, frolicking elves, and St. Nick himself put everyone in a festive, and more importantly, friendly, mood. A visiting Torontonian told Farah Tayabali from the Spectator, "That parade (Toronto) is more commercial, with big, pushy crowds that make it a high-anxiety affair. The people here are so friendly. My kids really enjoy it. There are lots of favors for the kids."
"It appears that Ebenezer Scrooge has landed himself a job at the border," Spectator reporter Mary K. Nolan complained. She was referring to the fact that customs officials denied entry to a marching band from a Buffalo High School, who had intended to march in the Hamilton Santa Claus Parade. The reason? The teenagers lacked work permits! But the kids finally made it through, just in the nick of time!
The weather started out rough on parade day, but cleared by 2:00 p.m. Clowns and mascots threw sweets, and a mail box on the back of the Hamilton Harbour Commission float promised direct delivery to the North Pole. Ralph Marzilli's eye-catching Cadillac, which was festooned with generator-powered whirligigs and wheels, drew fascinated stares.
"Every year, he adds a few more whirligigs," Ed Cummings explained. "One of these times, he'll probably just lift off from Main Street like a helicopter."
The Kinettes collected $740 and 1500 pounds of food donations.
"It was great!" enthused Phil Roberto, who attended the 1998 parade with his two small children. "The kids held up. Considering that it's the end of November, the weather was great."
The parade was billed as the biggest ever, with 132 entries, 14 bands, 36 floats, two camels, two beauty queens and one mayor. The Hamilton Fire Department band led the way, followed by Mayor Bob Morrow, who was resplendent in the black and gold of the Tiger-Cats. The famous Stelco float depicting a Dickensian Christmas drew its usual rave reviews. Another crowd favorite was the Quaker Marching Band from Orchard Park High School.
The 1999 Hamilton Santa Claus Parade featured a float for the International Year of the Older Person, and included a variety of people who made important contributions to the community, such as Milt Lewis, Lincoln Alexander, and Rabbi Bernard Baskin.
Ed Cummings told the press, "The Santa Claus Parade is one of the events in Hamilton that brings the whole community together and creates an exciting scene. It's a positive feature for downtown."
Seven year old Eryn Hartmeir knew Santa was right around the corner when it started snowing. "It means Santa will come soon," she thought. She privately thought that he looked a year older, but her companions assured her that he had not aged in eons.
The War Amps float stood out with its giant gold robot mascot, a train heading for a crossing, simulated live power wires, a lawn mower, electrical outlet, and a huge sign that invited spectators to spot the dangers. Kids riding on the float called out to the crowds to "play safe."
The Greyhound Lovers of Hamilton brought their brightly dressed dogs for the kids to applaud and pet- one dog was even dressed like the Grinch's buddy Max!
Heads were scratched in confusion when a garbage truck decorated with balloons chugged along the route- until it was obvious that people walking alongside the vehicle were picking up garbage and Tim Horton's cups discarded by the spectators.
The 2001 parade consisted of 110 groups, including 23 floats, 13 bands, marching groups, clowns, antique cars, and fire trucks. Crossing guards along the route collected letters addressed to Santa Claus. Frosty the Snowman, made of pure Hamilton steel, rode on a float that drew squeals of delight from children.
Ed Cummings joked that he still doesn't know all of Santa's reindeer by name. "Ask me their names and I get lost. I still don't know them all by name."
A brass band belted out "Frosty the Snowman" as the 2002 parade commenced. Mayor Bob Wade led the procession, waving to the crowds from a black Mercedes. Ronald McDonald, the Grimace, and Gremlin also drove along in two convertibles.
"Are you excited about seeing Santa?" Ronald called out to the kids, who screamed back, "YEAH!!"
Cuban-born Mayra Tleigabulova, 15, and her 13 year old sister Maite had only been in Canada for three weeks. Their mother told the Spectator reporter that the Santa Claus Parade was a special experience for them because Cubans weren't allowed to celebrate Christmas with parades.
Three year old Nathan Cozens from Dundas said that he wanted Santa to bring him a toy truck with doors that open. He is reassured that Santa will not miss his house: "He has reindeer. They can fly."
The famous and beloved Stelco Christmas float re-appeared in the 2003 parade after being out of commission for three years. The Lions Club of Stoney Creek purchased it the month before for $1.00 to save it from the scrap heap. The club spent close to $12,000 to store and maintain the float.
"I'm glad that it's out there again," 60 year old Stelco retiree Jim Davies said. "I'll be taking my grandchildren down to the parade to see it."
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