Santa Claus is coming to town!
Lansdale hosts annual Mardi Gras parade
For those who were looking to get into the holiday spirit, there was a chance that last Saturday’s festivities in Lansdale did the trick.
Mardi Gras madness hit the main drag in Lansdale Saturday afternoon, as the borough held its 62nd annual Mardi Gras parade. Float after float and band after band, the streets were splashed in holiday colors as the “Jingle All the Way Down Main Street” theme echoed through the buildings.
“If you grew up in Lansdale, you know this is the thing to be at,” said Knights For Life board member Laura Smith. “If you’re not in the parade, you’re at the parade.”
Smith and the rest of the Knights For Life, as well as the rest of the 60-plus groups participating, were stationed along Lansdale’s side streets, getting themselves and their vehicles prepared for the mile-long parade route.
“I think setting up is possibly more exciting than the actual parade itself,” said Smith. “The smiles and excitement on children’s faces is amazing and this is why we are here, for them.”
Along Delaware and Perkiomen avenues sat dozens of kids, including the Lansdale Cannoneers youth football and cheerleading squads. Vice President Scott Long has been a part of the Lansdale Mardi Gras parade for nearly 20 years.
“I’m not here for myself, I’m here for the kids,” said Long.
With the girls wearing their white cheerleader uniforms and the boys in their kelly green jerseys, more than 30 kids filled the back of the truck, which had championship banners bordering the whole vehicle. Two cheer squads were unable to make it, which included the Lansdale Cannoneers 145-pound Cheer Squad. The team was earning first place at the Eastern Region Championships in Trenton, N.J., during the parade. It has advanced to nationals in Walt Disney World.
“The kids love this and get so excited,” said Long. “We want to show the community all of our accomplishments, let them know who we are and to give our sponsor recognition because they do so much for us.”
Sitting in the back of the truck was Rylee Earle, 8, of Souderton. She has been cheering for four years with the Cannoneers.
“I love being able to wave and give candy to people,” she said when asked what is her favorite part of the parade. “Cheering is a lot of fun — you get to go to a lot of games and cheer on the football players. [You should join] because it’s a lot of fun and a new experience to try.”
A street over from the Cannoneers crew was the North Penn YMCA Adventure Guides, a fatherdaughter and father-son program that allows children to participate in activities with their fathers.
This father-run group partici-
pates in multiple activities for children ages 5 to 10, with an older division for kids 10 to 14. Some of the events include camping, archery, rocket building and fiVKLnJ.
“Instead of going with the theme of the parade, we wanted to show the community who we are and what we do,” said circle leader eerb Bowers as the Adventure GuLGH’V flRDW KDG D WHnW, IDNH FDPSfirH DnG D bRw DnG Drrow target.
“The kids have an amazing time at the parade and it’s great to see their enjoyment,” said Bowers. “lnly GLIfiFuOW WKLnJ LV WHOOLnJ WKHP to not throw the candy too hard where they hurt someone.”
The Lansdale Kiwanis Club had an impressive flRDW, buW LW WRRN HIIRrW IrRP multiple people to accomplish it.
$n 18-wKHHOHr flDWbed truck was covered in wrapped presents, all of which were wrapped by North Penn eigh School Key Club members. Fake trees were also created by the club and the Kiwanis COub’V DIfiOLDWH JrRuS IRr disabled adults, Action Club. Sitting in the middle of the set was a 192T Chevy truck owned by late Lansdale Mayor Mike DiNunzio.
“We’ve been a part of this parade route for 3T years,” said Mike DiNunzio Jr. “We’re happy to show everyone who we are and what our mission is. It’s amazing what these kids do.”
For nearly two hours, Mardi Gras paradegoers sat back and watched as talent- ed kids, businesses, clubs, emergency personnel and organizations hit Main Street with bells on, as requested for the theme.
The Bux-Mont Bassmasters were in the parade this year, showcasing their JrRuS — D fiVKLnJ FOub HVtablished in 1998 for those who enjoy the sport of bDVV fiVKLnJ — DnG WKHLr achievements. Member Martin Cervera was highlighted as he was the Pennsylvania District lne Angler of the Year.
“We are a bunch of people wKR OLNH WR fiVK buW wH DrH also into educating the youth and teaching them about the sport,” said President Bob Lengyel. “We hosted the Reel Kids Casting Contest this year and had 238 kids show up. Two of them, a girl and boy, went to the state championship, and the boy ended up winning $500 there.”
Passing by in shiny red fire trucks were represen- tatives of multiple municipalities. eolding banners were local Scouts and two high school marching bands — the North Penn Marching Knights and the Souderton Area eigh School Big Red.
First Baptist Church in LDnVGDOH KDG D flRDW SRrtraying a Victorian setting with a group eating dinnHr by firHVLGH, DnG IDrWKHr bDFN Rn WKH flRDW, FDrROHrV sang with a woman on a sleigh.
Mater Dei Catholic SFKRRO KDG LWV flRDW GHsigned as a festive town, with a hand-painted town setting and holiday trees scattered.
Santa made a grand entrance at the end as the Towamencin Volunteer Fire Company escorted the jolly man this year. The fire company transformed the truck into a house rooftop, where Santa sat on a sleigh with several elves.
At left, Santa Claus and his helpers ride on a Towamencin Fire Truck as they wave to the crowds along Main Street during the Lansdale Mardi Gras Parade Saturday. Below, Alex Miller, front, and the North Penn High School Marching Knights perform during the Lansdale Mardi Gras Parade. Below left, festive clowns wave to the crowd along Main Street during the Lansdale Mardi Gras parade.
Above, crowds gather along Main Street during the Lansdale Mardi Gras Parade. Left, a costumed dog watches as the Souderton Area Big Red Marching Band performs. Far right, Costumed toy soldiers wave to the crowds along Main Street.
Lansdale Mayor Andy Szekely and his family wave to the crowd during the parade.