/images/DSC01571.jpg" align=left vspace=4 border=2 > The much anticipated annual Chatham SERTOMA Santa Claus Parade was held downtown this evening. For the first time, residents were treated to a night parade. Weather co-operated with clear skies and crispy Christmas-like temperatures. As the start time neared, the streets began to swell with people huddled in anticipation.
Taking advantage of the night setting, many floats were decked out in lights. The children seemed especially excited, many of the youngest ones staying up extra late for the special event. The crowd of spectators appeared to be larger than recent daytime parades.
"This was the best Santa Claus Parade in 50 years!" exclaimed Eddie Mariconda, a long-time downtown business owner. Mariconda was unconvinced prior to the parade whether running at night was a good idea, but the doubt melted away as the parade began./images/DSC01555.jpg" align=right vspace=4 border=2 >
While some onlookers felt the evening chill, many agreed that the daytime parades of past years were colder and windy as well. Overall, the parade was well received, leading to suggestions that this should become the new Chatham tradition.
As the parade concluded, the refrain of "Merry Christmas" rang out as Santa, flanked by his reindeer made of hundreds of twinkle lights, greeted his many fans, young and old. Three year old Emily said, "Santa waved at me!"
Congratulations for the efforts of parade organizers and participants.