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History of VFW Santa Parade.
The VFW Santa Parade was established in 1964 by the Veterans of Lorraine Post 29 VFW, located at 64 Kenoza Avenue in Haverhill, MA. Led by the late John T. Sullivan, otherwise known as "Sully”, the annual VFW Santa Parade was created by forming partnerships with other marching bands and drum and bugle corps that were popular and plentiful in the era of the 1960’s and 1970’s. Sully and his dedicated team of Veterans would barter with other corps to participate in each other’s parades, and that was how it worked in the early years. By 1985 the parade was faced with a serious challenge. Its founder "Sully” had passed away –and the dedicated team of Veterans who had worked so closely alongside him over the years, including Cormick W. "Mac” Crosley, Post 29 Commander, and longtime treasurer, Walter G. Kalaus, united with newer members like Robert "Bob” Adams and Lyman "Tinker” Biggart, as well as the sons and daughters of VFW Post 29 members to decide the future of the VFW Santa Parade. Also in attendance at this crucial meeting was Sully’s son, Thomas J. Sullivan, who expressed an interest in helping out. Little did he know he would soon become the next Chairman, and would continue in this position for the next fifteen years. He was joined by a growing team of volunteers, two of whom would become future Chairs of the parade. Joan Cranton served as parade chair from 2001-2004 and Roland Plourde from 2005 to 2014. Along with Peter McCarron, Raymond "Yaz” Jackson, Charles "Charlie” Paone, Gordon Stone, Richard "Dick” Willett, Miette Amy, David Cannata, and William "Bill” Biggart, the parade continued to grow and flourish for the next twenty-five years. Today, the VFW Santa Parade Committee consists of the brothers and sisters and sons and daughters of VFW Post 29 Veterans, including our current Treasurer Sue (Crosley) Bergeron and Maureen (Crites) Cartier, Daniel Plourde, Jr., Heather Johns, along with Parade Chair Daniel P. Plourde, Sr., Vice-Chair Tom Sullivan and Secretary Jessica Plourde as well as a dedicated group of parade day volunteers.
Many changes have taken place over the past 54 years but the most challenging one has been the fundraising to support the annual parade. Days of bartering with other drum and bugle corps has long passed, and for many years the parade has been funded solely through the support of individuals and businesses. Since 1985 parade expenses have grown from $25,000 to about $45,000 this year. Funds raised pay for marching band and major attraction expenses, and with between 15-20 bands and major attractions in the parade each year, the funds are spent wisely and with great deliberation amongst the parade committee volunteers. That is why we need not only your support, but the support of everyone who values the single largest event and longest annual holiday tradition in the City of Haverhill—the VFW Santa Parade.
Take a moment to check out our website. Included is important information about marching band and parade participation, including applications for both which can be downloaded online and returned to us via email to firstname.lastname@example.org .
Or you can mail them to us at:
VFW Santa Parade
PO BOX 5345
Bradford, MA, 01835
Please check out our donation page, too. It features our Business Boosters Club, Family Boosters Club, and a Collection Drive during the parade itself on parade day—Sunday November 18th. Included on the website is a PayPal donation page for those of you who may wish to contribute via PayPal. It’s quick, it’s easy, and most importantly, it’s greatly appreciated.
Thank you for your interest and support of the VFW Santa Parade in the City of Haverhill.