Re­flec­tions on Christ­mas pa­rades past

Marys­town Kins­men Club mem­bers have fond mem­o­ries of or­ga­niz­ing an­nual event

The Southern Gazette - - Front Page - BY PAUL HERRIDGE MARYS­TOWN, N.L.

“Bys, oh, bys, they were the dandies, some of them, weren’t they? Re­mem­ber the big rocket, the space­ship we tried to do?” said Dan Walsh.

He was re­call­ing Marys­town Kins­men Club’s pa­rade floats from Christ­mases gone by.

“It was the Kins­men Space­ship, I think it was called,” elab­o­rated Kevin Glavine, the club’s pres­i­dent.

“Kelv Far­rell, I be­lieve, was the main builder of it. It looked good. I might have a pic­ture of it home some­where. I don’t know where. It was in­ter­est­ing. It was fun-to-do type thing.”

Walsh, Glavine and Tom Baker, three long-serv­ing mem­bers of the Marys­town Kins­men Club, have gath­ered to travel down mem­ory lane on half a cen­tury of Christ­mas pa­rades.

“Bill Drake’s garage was the place we used to go in and do our floats,” Baker says.

The most re­cent Marys­town Kins­men Santa Claus Pa­rade this month marked the 50th time the club has or­ga­nized the event.

The Kins­men Club formed in Marys­town in the fall of 1968 and picked up the pa­rade the fol­low­ing year from the lo­cal cham­ber of com­merce back then, which had gone de­funct, ac­cord­ing to Baker.

The pa­rade fit with the Kins­men’s ob­jec­tive.

“Our motto is ‘Help Kin – Help Kid­dies’. That was our big thing – get in there and do what we could for the kids,” Baker said.

Kevin Pick­ett was the first chair of the Christ­mas pa­rade. Baker held the po­si­tion for sev­eral years in the 1970s. Walsh has been chair since the early 1980s.

Once upon a time the pa­rade would begin in Jean de Baie be­fore also go­ing through Span­ish Room, Cre­ston North, Cre­ston South and Lit­tle Bay.

“We’d start just be­fore 9 in the morn­ing, get­ting ready to go, and we’d fin­ish it up by lunchtime. Then we’d take Santa Claus out for din­ner,” Baker said, adding Gerry Walsh played the role of Old Saint Nick for many years early on.

There’s al­ways been good com­mu­nity par­tic­i­pa­tion in the pa­rade and that con­tin­ues to this day, Walsh said.

“I would say it’s been a tremen­dous suc­cess for (50) years,” said Baker.

“I looks for­ward to it ev­ery year, very much so,” Walsh said.

PAUL HERRIDGE – THE SOUTH­ERN GAZETTE

Mem­bers Kevin Glavine, Dan Walsh and Tom Baker chat­ted with The South­ern Gazette last week about the Marys­town Kins­men Club’s his­tory of or­ga­niz­ing the an­nual Christ­mas pa­rade in the town.

FILE PHOTO

Santa gives a big wave to the crowds gath­ered for the Christ­mas pa­rade in 1984.

FILE PHOTO

Afloat from the Marys­town Kins­men Santa Claus Pa­rade in 1989.

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