Seacoast residents will have a double dose of fun on Saturday 3 December as two local communities bring the season’s greetings to their streets with Christmas parades in Hampton at 1pm and Exeter at 5.30pm
Hampton Holiday Parade: ‘It’s just a movie’
This year’s Hampton Holiday Parade is themed “It’s Only a Movie” in honor of the late Desi Lanio, former co-owner of Route 1’s 401 Tavern.
Lanio, who died earlier this year, was known for his good work behind the scenes for many charities and causes, running countless fundraisers, helping restart the Hampton Holiday Parade and once gathering local people to buy an 18-wheel Trucks to fill with goods victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston.
The theme of the parade is reminiscent of Lanio’s signature “Hang 10” hand sign, which he would show to anyone who took his picture, always adding that life “is just a movie.”
According to parade organizer Dean Merrill, Tracey Dewhurst, owner of the Victoria Inn on High Street and Victoria’s Kitchen on Route 1, is this year’s Grand Marshal of the parade.
“Tracey is a great pick,” Merrill said. “Tracey is a very quiet woman, but she does a lot for the community and through her help with charities. She will be hosting events at her Victoria Inn to raise funds for them. When we told her she was the Grand Marshal, she got excited.”
According to Merrill, Dewhurst will be riding in a very special vehicle during the parade.
“She’ll be driving in a 1948 Pontiac convertible,” Merrill said.
The parade begins at 1:00 p.m. at the Hampton/North Hampton city line at the railroad bridge on Route 1 (Lafayette Road) and follows the roadway to end at Winnacunnet Road.
Across the route, spectators will see another guest of honor, Santa Claus, and enjoy dozens of floats, parade units and the rousing sounds of marching bands, Merrill said.
“We currently have six bands confirmed and we’re waiting for two more,” Merrill said. “We have confirmed bands from Winnacunnet High School, the Boston Firemen, the Police Pipes & Drums, Spaulding High School, the University of New Hampshire Color Guard and NH Pipes and Drums.”
There is still time for organizations or groups interested in participating in the parade to register, Merrill said. Simply go to https://www.experiencehampton.org/, click on Holiday Parade at the top, then scroll down to click on the application form.
Experience Hampton organizes the parade and raises funds for it throughout the year and each year at its charity golf tournament.
Exeter Holiday Parade: ‘Toys, Trains and Candy Canes’
Shortly after Hampton’s parade has gone to bed, the Exeter Holiday Parade will descend from the Osram site on Portsmouth Avenue at 5.30pm and meander to the High Street, past the bandstand on Water Street and ending at Swasey Parkway.
According to announcer Mark Ericson, this year’s theme is “Toys, Trains and Candy Canes”. Special visitors include Santa Claus as well as some other holiday favorites like Snoopy and the Grinch.
Another honoree in the parade will be the Exeter Area Garden Club, who will be named the Grand Marshals of the 2022 Exeter Holiday Parade. Santa and the Garden Club will be joined by marching bands, community and corporate floats, and many other familiar faces.
The event will feature some long-favorite parade units, Ericson said, including the Seacoast School of Technology and Future Farmers of America, the Exeter High School Marching Band, the UNH Winter Guard Flag Team and, for the first time this year, the Boston Marching Band windjammers
According to Ericson, it’s not too late to join this 60+ year holiday tradition. Parade participant registration is available online at www.exeternhholidayparade.com. The parade route and other information are also available there.
Parade enthusiasts can follow the parade on the Exeter Holiday Parade Facebook page for the latest information.
The parade will be broadcast live on Exeter TV. Viewers can search for Exeter TV online on YouTube or access the stream on the @ExeterTV page on Facebook. In addition, Comcast customers can watch the parade live on Comcast channels 22 and 98 in Exeter or on channel 13 in all SAU-16 cities.