Hundreds of children lined the streets of downtown Gloucester in eager anticipation.

Some were waiting for Santa while others were looking forward to the fire trucks. 

But for eight-year-old Finnian Fox Runnells of Gloucester, the city's 41st Santa Parade was all about the candy. 

"I'm excited for the candy canes," Finnian said. "But my favorite is actually candy corn."

The annual parade, full of laughter, music, and cheering, kicked off at 3 p.m. on Sunday. 

Linzee Coolidge of Gloucester led the parade as the 2019 Grand Marshal and was followed by creative costumes, musicians and a line of Jeeps festively decorated for the holidays.

"I think it went wonderful," said Joe Ciolino, one of the organizers. "It was just so cold but we had a very good turnout."

The temperature wasn't the only thing that was frozen at the parade this year. 

O’Maley Innovation Middle School's cast of Disney's "Frozen Jr." stood out in the frigid 30-degree weather, rehearsing the tossing and twirling of their streamers, and anticipating the heated cars at the end of the parade. 

"I am really excited to wear these antlers," laughed Thea Cunningham, 13, of Gloucester, pointing to the velvet costume piece positioned on her head. "To show people our music and our show and some of our props."

As the cast prepares for opening night on Jan. 31, the school's drama club was excited to bring their talent off the stage and on to the streets for the parade.

"It is our first time walking in this parade as part of the drama club program," Director Lauren Horne said. "We do have a bit out our music that we are excited to debut and while the music is playing we will be able to show a little bit of the choreography that we have been working on." 

The Parade's music included the O'Maley Innovation Middle School band, sponsored by Gloucester Rotary Club in honor of the late Rudy Macchi; Gloucester High School Docksiders, sponsored by the Institution for Savings; and the Boston Firemen's Band, organized by Gloucester's David Benjamin.

"I love the Firemen's Band and I love these Christmas parades," Cornetist John McAveeney said. "It means a lot."

The band has also played locally when temperatures were warmer, explained McAveeney, as they performed in the Horrible's Parade and Saint Peter's Fiesta.

The parade had a slight interruption when one of the larger floats had to stop and maneuver around precariously parked cars at the end of Main Street.

The parade concluded at the base of the city's Christmas tree at Kent Circle.

Ward 2 City Councillor Barry Pett was pleased with the turnout.

"It is a wonderful turnout, it is a wonderful day," Pett said. "Obviously it is a little subdued from the Tarr family's side so we are making do and doing the best we can."

From the judges float on the green of Kent Circle, the Ciolino awarded Maritime Gloucester with first place for their parade float. 

Gloucester's Veterans Services followed in second and Mass Mudders took third. An honorable mention was awarded to the Special Olympics and special recognition was given to East Gloucester Elementary School and Veterans Elementary School.

While no official speech was given at this year's parade, Ciolino did share his gratitude for the community and satisfaction with the weather.

"Santa Claus wanted us to have this," Ciolino exclaimed.

Staff writer Taylor Ann Bradford can be reached at 978-338-2527 or


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