Cameron “Cam” Davidowicz, the professional rugby player from Haverhill’s Ward Hill neighborhood, will serve as grand marshal when the 58th Annual VFW Santa Parade kicks off on the Sunday before Thanksgiving.
During a live appearance last week on WHAV’s “Win for Breakfast” show, parade Chairman Daniel Plourde Sr. said Davidowicz, a member of the New England Free Jacks professional rugby team, accepted the ceremonial post.
“One of the committee members is a huge rugby fan and he had already been talking about it early in the season. It just all kind of fell into place and we’re very happy that it did,” he said.
Davidowicz, son of Michael Davidowicz and Deborah DiBurro of Haverhill, was a 6’1″, 225-pound back row player and on the training squad when he signed a contract last year. The New England Free Jacks took first place this past season in in the Major League Rugby Eastern Conference. The next season opens in February.
While Plourde joked parade watchers might don New England Free Jacks apparel, this year’s parade theme is actually “Santa’s Ugly Christmas Sweater Party.” Plourde said the theme has long been in the works.
“It’s been a very popular thing over the last few years. It’s been all the rage for the last five years or so. We talked about this a few years ago, but we had other themes in place and then, when COVID showed up, that changed things. Here we are again and we’re back to where we began. Back to the beginning as it were,” Plourde noted.
The parade features Hallamore Clydesdales; antique and classic cars; Clan MacPherson Pipes and Drums; high school bands including those from Haverhill, Georgetown, Beverly and Salem, and Londonderry, N.H.; and engines from Haverhill Fire Department and other area departments. Charitable groups seeking support long the parade route include the Betsy Conte Food Drive, Ozzie’s Kids and Lions Club, which collect eyeglasses.
Plourde said the parade committee also seeks additional acts and floats. Parade participant and float applications are available online at haverhillsantaparade.com.
The 58th Annual VFW Santa Parade takes place Sunday, Nov. 20, at 1 p.m., starting at the Caleb Dustin Hunking School. It runs along Route 125, crosses Basiliere Bridge, turns left onto Merrimack Street and right onto Emerson Street. The procession ends on Ginty Boulevard. Shuttle buses donated by NRT is available to move between the beginning and end and vice versa.