Haverhill’s VFW Santa Parade Is Nov. 18: Why the Iconic Parade Route Is Changing

Santa greets Haverhill residents along the parade route in 2017. (Jay Saulnier photograph for WHAV News)

With the fall soon comes the iconic Haverhill Santa Parade, taking place this year on Sunday, Nov. 18—the weekend before Thanksgiving. WHAV was first to report news of the VFW’s parade’s new route last month, and on Monday, parade representative Thomas J. Sullivan, also the City Council vice president, offered insight on just why the route has changed.

Speaking to Open Mic Show co-hosts Bill Macek and Bill Ellis on the Oct. 1 episode, Sullivan—whose father was a VFW pioneer years ago—said organizers were simply ready for a change.

“When the building was sold, we decided it was time for a change—and there was no need to make everyone march up ‘Heartbreak Hill’ near City Hall. You won’t be doing that this year!” Sullivan explained.

Carrying the theme of “Miracle on Merrimack Street,” the 54th annual parade will still begin at Bradford’s Hunking School and make its way over the Basiliere Bridge, taking a left turn into the downtown district, Committee Chairman Daniel Ploude tells WHAV.

“The parade will leave the fire station as it always has. It will travel down South Main Street, over the Basiliere Bridge and then turn left on to Merrimack Street. All the way down to Washington Square and then turn right onto Emerson and disband at the Boys (and Girls) Club on the corner of Emerson and Bailey,” Plourde said.

Parade organizers hope to utilize the Welcome Street Citizens Center as a post-parade space for spectators to reunite with family and warm up after the march, Sullivan said.

For more on this year’s parade—including information on Friday’s golf tournament fundraiser at the Bradford Country Club—listen to the full Open Mic Show segment now!