The Day - Sound & Country - - NIANTIC LIGHT PARADE -

what­ever strikes their builders’ fancy. Themes are not a part of this com­pe­ti­tion; in­stead, va­ri­ety is what keeps the ex­cite­ment go­ing, Cush­ing said.

Win­ning floats from past pa­rades have re­sem­bled pirate ships, mer­rygo-rounds and even the Statue of Lib­erty.

“It gives ev­ery­one an op­por­tu­nity to build some­thing, to be part of some­thing,” Cush­ing said. to col­lect non-per­ish­able items from on­look­ers. The food is do­nated to the Gemma E. Mo­ran UnitedWay/La­bor Food Cen­ter. Last year the food drive rasied about 1,400 pounds of food for the cen­ter, Cush­ing said.

“By year five, the food drive will also be a sta­ple and we won’t even have to ask peo­ple to bring food,” he said. “If ev­ery­one who at­tended the pa­rade sim­ply brought two cans of soup, one in each coat pocket, the re­sponse would be over­whelm­ing.”

The all-vol­un­teer pa­rade com­mit­tee cham­pi­ons those types of ac­tiv­i­ties, and it’s that kind of vol­un­teer and giv­ing spirit that brings peo­ple down­town year af­ter year, Cush­ing said.

“It’s a unique, fam­ily-ori­ented hol­i­day event that peo­ple love. It started out small 22 years ago, but it had a lot of sup­port so it con­tin­ued to grow.”

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