With a flick of a light switch and a barrel or two of ho-ho-hos, hundreds of Gloucester residents and visitors alike all dove headlong into the traditional holiday season Sunday.
The occasion was the annual Santa Claus Parade, which drew applause and happy shouts from kids along the route from the Jodrey State Fish Pier, where the march began, through Main Street to Western Avenue and Kent Circle — for the annual lighting of Gloucester’s Canadian spruce Christmas tree.
Led by Gloucester High School’s JR ROTC unit, and with retired firefighter and former interim chief Phlil Dench as grand marshal, the parade also featured more than a dozen floats. And it reflected the spirit of giving, with the Toys for Tots program collecting toys alongside and behind a pink elephant float.
As to the tree, that was once again brought back from Gloucester’s sister city of Shelbourne, Nova Scotia, two weeks ago by Kent Circle Christmas Tree Committee leader Brent “Ringo” Tarr and St. Peter’s Fiesta Committee president Joe Novello, then decorated by members of the committee the previous weekend.
The committee, however, is still seeking donations to offset the cost of the lights and decorations – and to ensure another successful kickoff to the local holiday season next year. Anyone who can help may send a check to the committee, care of 18 Timberview Drive, Gloucester 01930.