53rd Annual VFW Santa Parade, ‘It’s Christmas Time in the City,’ Takes Place Sunday

The 53rd Annual VFW Santa Parade takes place this coming Sunday.

Committee member and City Councilor Thomas J. Sullivan visited WHAV’s Open Mike Show Monday night to discuss the lasting appeal of the parade. He described this year’s theme.

“So the theme this year is ‘It’s Christmas Time in the City.’ That theme was chosen by members of the parade committee by a majority vote this year. We decided to do that, in that fashion. It gives us a chance to reflect on the City of Haverhill—what it was when we were kids, and our parents and children, and what’s it’s become today which is a lot different Haverhill than the city we grew up in.”

The VFW Santa Parade begins at 1 p.m., from the Bradford Fire Station along route 125 to the endpoint at the former VFW Post 29 building, 64 Kenoza Ave., on Route 110.The event is dedicated to longtime Parade Committee Member, Michael V. Lyons, who passed away earlier this year.

“Mike Lyons, a Bradford resident, great guy, lived on the parade route. His family watched the parade every year. He got involved a few years back—quite a few years back—and he just became an instrumental player in the organizing and, particularly, the fundraising for the parade,” Sullivan said.

In a statement, parade Chairman Daniel Plourde added, “We miss Mike dearly, and it is our way of saying thank you to him and to the entire Lyons family, who will be watching the annual event as they always do, from their home right along the parade route on South Main Street.”

Sullivan’s father, the late Veterans Services Officer John Sullivan, worked with other veterans to launch the parade more than a half-century ago.

“When the Chamber of Commerce decided they were no longer going to sponsor the event and organize the event, he decided the VFW would do it, and quickly everyone jumped on board and that is how the VFW Santa Parade was started,” Sullivan added.

Fourteen marching bands and musical performers as well as a dozen or more floats and 27 marching groups and other attractions comprise this Sunday’s parade line-up.  Perennial band favorites return this year, including the award-winning Londonderry and Salem, N.H., High School Bands. Floats from across organizations and schools will also be featured, including the Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School and Sacred Hearts School floats.