Covanta Issues Challenge to Businesses to Support VFW Santa Parade, Matches Donations

Covanta Area Asset Manager Mark Van Weelden, left, issues a challenge to other local businesses to support the 57th Annual VFW Santa Parade. Joining him are Ralph T. Basiliere. Parade Chairman Daniel Plourde Sr., and Haverhill Facility Manager Bill Zaneski, (Courtesy photograph.)

A local business is stepping up to help ensure the 57th Annual VFW Santa Parade is a big success by challenging others to contribute.

Covanta of Haverhill, which in 2016 took second place in the overall float competition in the parade, is matching donations from other local businesses dollar-for-dollar up to $3,000. The parade is set for Sunday, Nov. 21, but initial uncertainty over COVID-19 dampened fundraising efforts.

“Given our inability to gather last year due to COVID, we want to help make this year a little bigger, brighter and better. Events like this take a lot of time and planning, and counting rising costs, it takes even more money this year to pull it off,” said Covanta Area Asset Manager Mark Van Weelden.

The VFW Santa Parade Committee voted recently to have a traditional parade, calling this year’s theme, “Santa Claus IS Coming to Town.” The Committee advised, however, it would work with any public health restrictions that may be in effect on Nov. 21.

Covanta Haverhill Facility Manager Bill Zaneski said company employees look forward to the Santa Parade every year like most and have participated with floats over the years. “When Ralph Basiliere asked me if Covanta was in this year, I immediately said yes. This parade brings back many great memories for me and our employees that go back many years,” Zaneski said.

Van Weelden added, “I am so pleased that the event is back on this year.  I have fond memories of my kids—not so little now—riding on the Covanta float. It will be special this year for many.”

The parade begins at 1 p.m., runs along Route 125 from the Caleb Dustin Hunking School, crosses Basiliere Bridge, turns left onto Merrimack Street and then right onto Emerson Street. The parade ends on Ginty Boulevard. The Parade Committee is also looking for floats, antique cars and marching groups.

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