Todd Mar­cocci's Mag­nif­i­cent Creations

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - QVC WEST CHESTER CHRISTMAS PARADE - By Leigh Green

When he was five years old, Todd Mar­cocci’s grand­fa­ther gifted him with a toy trac­tor. It had ped­als and could be rid­den around like a bi­cy­cle. Upon re­ceiv­ing this present, Mar­cocci asked his mother for a roll of crepe pa­per and scotch tape so that he could dec­o­rate it.

To­day Mar­cocci, owner of Un­der the Sun Pro­duc­tions in West Ch­ester, can be found dec­o­rat­ing, plan­ning and pro­duc­ing with the same in­nate drive and pas­sion that he ex­hib­ited so early on as a child. This year, he and his com­pany led the Mum­mers group Golden Crown to win first place in the Philadel­phia Mum­mer’s Day Fancy Brigade Competition, an artis­tic feat among many di­rected un­der Mar­cocci’s scrupu­lous eye ev­ery year. Com­ing De­cem­ber 2nd, West

Ch­ester will have the op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence his bril­liance as di­rec­tor of the QVC West Ch­ester Christ­mas Pa­rade once again this year.

Mar­cocci never stops. Even while mow­ing his lawn or driv­ing in his car, he is con­stantly gen­er­at­ing and turn­ing over ideas for his var­i­ous en­deav­ors. “I blame my mother for my cre­ativ­ity. She’s a per­fec­tion­ist,” Mar­cocci says, de­scrib­ing his in­cli­na­tion to­wards metic­u­lous dec­o­ra­tion and dis­play that has led to a ca­reer cen­tered upon mag­nif­i­cence and at­ten­tion to de­tail. “I’m ac­tu­ally mak­ing bows as we speak right now.”

As a youth, fol­low­ing his toy trac­tor float creation, Mar­cocci went on to com­plete nu­mer­ous child­hood pro­duc­tions with in­creas­ing flour­ish. Dur­ing fam­ily events, where cousins and sib­lings abounded, Mar­cocci cast and di­rected nu­mer­ous pa­rades. “I would teach them how to march,” he re­calls. “We would build floats.” He would also put on his own fire­work shows and foun­tain dis­plays, up­light­ing the wa­ter from a gar­den house that he would rig to spray ver­ti­cally. Thank­fully for spec­ta­tors across the coun­try, Mar­cocci cir­cled back to his child­hood an­tics. “Here I am do­ing the ex­act same thing on a grander scale,” he says with a laugh.

A grander scale is putting it mildly. Mar­cocci’s re­sume now in­cludes an ex­ten­sive list of big league events in­clud­ing the Cherry Blos­som Pa­rade and Na­tional Me­mo­rial Day Pa­rade in Wash­ing­ton, DC, the Nashville Christ­mas Pa­rade, the Mag­nif­i­cent Mile Lights Fes­ti­val Pa­rade in Chicago, Miss Amer­ica in At­lantic City, Philadel­phia’s own 6abc Dunkin’ Donuts Thanks­giv­ing Day Pa­rade and the Philadel­phia In­de­pen­dence Day Pa­rade. He’s also re­spon­si­ble for the sound­tracks of ev­ery Philadel­phia fire­works show for In­de­pen­dence Day and New Year’s Eve, which is to say that he se­lects the themes, the songs and the py­rotech­nics at the core of ev­ery sin­gle one.

The QVC West Ch­ester Christ­mas Pa­rade, which he di­rects with Un­der the Sun co-owner Amy Walp, now reaches such lev­els of grandeur as to gar­ner na­tional at­ten­tion and at­tract 40,000 an­nual spec­ta­tors, and grow­ing.

Putting on a pro­duc­tion of such large scale re­quires peren­nial plan­ning and or­ga­ni­za­tion of mas­sive mov­ing parts. This year, as QVC be­came the ti­tle spon­sor, Mar­cocci sees his long­time vi­sion tak­ing form. His in­volve­ment with the pa­rade started out min­i­mally in 2005, the first year he de­signed and dec­o­rated the tree at the for­mer court­house on High Street, ar­guably the most vis­i­ble sym­bol of Christ­mas in all of West Ch­ester. Watch­ing the Christ­mas Pa­rade go by, he saw in it ex­cep­tional po­ten­tial. He ap­proached the Cham­ber of Com­merce with a pro­posal and of­fer to vol­un­teer his ser­vices and help it grow, which he cer­tainly has. “My vi­sion was al­ways to have QVC in­volved be­cause I thought we could cre­ate some­thing that could be wor­thy of shar­ing with the na­tion,” he re­calls.

Mar­cocci has en­joyed work­ing tire­lessly along­side the Cham­ber of Com­merce as they’ve to­gether de­vel­oped this an­nual pa­rade into some­thing renowned and widely-loved. “What we live by is bring­ing the big city pa­rade to the small town,” he says. And it has be­come a true sen­sa­tion, draw­ing view­ers and par­tic­i­pants from as far as Vir­ginia and New York. For a Fri­day night small town pa­rade to amass such at­ten­dance is a tes­ta­ment to the tremen­dous ef­forts be­hind it.

It is Mar­cocci’s per­sis­tent and sys­tem­atic move­ments cou­pled with his in­her­ent spon­tane­ity that seem to gen­er­ate the recipe for his rock­et­ing suc­cess as a pa­rade di­rec­tor, en­ter­tainer and busi­ness owner. The force that com­pels him to en­ter­tain is the same force that greets pa­rade-go­ers on the street, strik­ing in its mag­ni­tude.

As the hol­i­day ex­cite­ment gave way to win­try re­al­ity last Jan­uary, Mar­cocci was up to some­thing. “You know those Christ­mas wreaths that are hung in the town?” he asks, re­fer­ring to a mul­ti­tude of pine wreaths and gar­lands, hung by vol­un­teers, that adorn just about ev­ery inch of down­town West Ch­ester dur­ing De­cem­ber. “I was tired of look­ing at all the burned out bulbs,” he says.

The only vi­able so­lu­tion was for him to take ev­ery one of the 110 wreaths home for a thor­ough re­hab­bing that he would carry out in his liv­ing room with lysol and scrub brushes for the next five months. “I never thought about all the soot that would come from the trac­tor trailors driv­ing by,” he says, ex­plain­ing why he was forced to wear a mask while strip­ping, scrub­bing and re­string­ing these grimy wreaths, and then hav­ing to scour sed­i­ment off his ta­bles, walls, floors, fur­ni­ture and decor. The wreaths, orig­i­nally strung with 25 bulbs a piece, have now been adorned with 250 bulbs, a 900% in­crease for any­one count­ing. Hand-made bows and dec­o­ra­tions fin­ish the look. “This year, West Ch­ester should be shin­ing bril­liantly,” Mar­cocci pre­dicts.

Of that he’s un­doubt­edly cor­rect.

The QVC West Ch­ester Christ­mas Pa­rade, which Mar­cocci di­rects with Un­der the Sun coowner Amy Walp, now reaches such lev­els of grandeur as to gar­ner na­tional at­ten­tion and at­tract 40,000 an­nual spec­ta­tors, and grow­ing.

Mar­cocci’s re­sume now in­cludes an ex­ten­sive list of big league events in­clud­ing the Cherry Blos­som Pa­rade and Na­tional Me­mo­rial Day Pa­rade in Wash­ing­ton, DC, the Nashville Christ­mas Pa­rade, the Mag­nif­i­cent Mile Lights Fes­ti­val Pa­rade in Chicago, Miss Amer­ica in At­lantic City, Philadel­phia’s own 6abc Dunkin’ Donuts Thanks­giv­ing Day Pa­rade and the Philadel­phia In­de­pen­dence Day Pa­rade.

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