‘Twas the first Saturday of December, and all through The Avenue at White Marsh, crowds gathered to watch the 13th annual Holiday Parade. For some in attendance, the two-hour-long event signaled the beginning of the holiday season.
“It’s a little family Christmas tradition for us,” said Maureen May, who has been coming to the parade with her husband and children since moving to Perry Hall about seven years ago. Glancing over at Megan, 11, and Miles, 10, she added, “They see the parade, and then they really know that Christmas is coming.”
Cubmaster Joe Gladden, who marched in the parade with members of Cub Scout Pack 130, noted that the celebration also represents something of a launching point for the pack’s seasonal efforts, “We are just getting our food drive going and we’ll be collecting clothing for a women’s shelter, so I guess this does start off the holiday season for us,” Gladden explained, noting that participating in the parade is a treat for the pack. “We had a great time today, and we like showing that we’re part of the community.”
The same could be said for the stores located on The Avenue at White Marsh. “Our merchants always look forward to the parade,” explained Lisa Geiger, Marketing Manager for property owner Federal Realty Investment Trust. “Della Rose’s and Red Brick Station join in the fun and sell breakfast sandwiches and hot chocolate, and other businesses open a little earlier to accommodate the crowd. We rely on many of them to assist us with distributing giveaways and acting as ambassadors for the center by answering questions and sharing their holiday spirit.”
As has been tradition, The Avenue distributed more than 3,000 jingle bells to spectators. “These bells have become collectors’ items to many families who consider the parade an annual part of their holiday experience,” said Geiger.
Darlene and Tracy Harper of Joppatowne were at the parade with their daughter and grandchildren. “We come rain or shine, and we’ve been here in the snow before,” said Darlene. “They have tons and tons of fun things: horses and marching bands and dancing, and they play Christmas music. It always puts us in the Christmas spirit.”
Judy Maberry, a Franklin Square Hospital Center fitness coordinator, accompanied a group of 14 White Marsh Mall walkers who briskly strolled their way along the parade route just behind the C. Milton Wright High School marching band. “It was wonderful, exciting and exhilarating,” Maberry said of the experience. “Everybody was smiling and waving and wishing us a Merry Christmas. It’s always a really fun event.”
And as the parade came to a close, two special guests rode atop White Marsh Volunteer Fire Company Tower 209, ensuring that the last vision dancing in the heads of many excited children was Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Did you attend the parade? Tell us how you kick off the holiday season in the comments in the comments and add your photos to the gallery.