Reflections on Christmas parades past
Marystown Kinsmen Club members have fond memories of organizing annual event
“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.
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.
Santa gives a big wave to the crowds gathered for the Christmas parade in 1984.
Afloat from the Marystown Kinsmen Santa Claus Parade in 1989.