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Santa Parade debate: Should route head downtown?

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Elf Without Jingles

Santa Parade debate: Should route go downtown?

Merchants, participants frown on suggestion

By Bruce Amaro, the Haverhill, Mass. Gazette | Posted: 02-27-2014

 

EXCERPT:

 

HAVERHILL, MASS. --- When Santa Claus comes to town, some Haverhill locals want him to change his focus to downtown.

 

There has been chatter about changing the route of the annual Santa Claus Parade, Haverhill's biggest social event of the year.

 

The present longtime Parade route sees the event going from the Bradford Fire Station along Route 125, across the Basiliere Bridge past City Hall, and then turning onto Kenoza Avenue, ultimately ending at the entrance of the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post.

 

But at the recent Team Haverhill organization's Possible Dreams conference, several town residents suggested exploring a change to the route, so the Parade would turn onto downtown Merrimack Street after crossing the bridge,and then ending in Washington Square, site of the community's Christmas Tree Lighting event.

 

"It was little more than another item that we put on our list of things we talk about. It was just a simple discussion as part of the night, and it was not some special topic that we made any plans to immediately act upon," said Alice Mann, who moderated the Possible Dreams meeting, which was a yearly event set aside to assemble residents from all over the community to brainstorm about ways that might ultimately improve the city.

 

Yet the item has caused a certain amount of chatter in this, the Parade's 50th Anniversary year.

 

The owners of two prominent local businesses, Barrett's Specialty Foods of 103 Merrimack Street, and the A-1 Deli of 92 Merrimack Street, agreed that the Parade would not do anything to boost their sales. In fact, the merchants said, having the Parade downtown would hurt them.

 

Among other things, it would disrupt regular traffic, and viewers do not normally stop to shop during a Parade, the merchants explained. They also have certain personal reasons for not wanting the Parade to march downtown.

 

"It's one of the very few days where I can close up shop," said Barrett's owner and namesake Melinda Barrett, who is also a City Councilperson, "because it's a big event where my whole family can get together." 

 

A-1 Deli owner Bob Meidanis, meanwhile, doesn't see any benefit to his business from the Parade. "It would kill me," he said when he learned about moving the event to Merrimack Street. "Leave it alone. It wouldn't help my business. Just leave it the way it is."

 

SOURCE:

 

 

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KKringle

Business, Business Business, Money, Money, Money! Sad really. Our Parade runs down Main Street at 6pm in the evening on Black Friday. Main Street is shut down from 4pm until after the Christmas Tree in the Square is lit at the end of the Parade (usually around 8pm). Businesses have never complained. They know that if they did, the community would revolt and then their businesses would suffer even more. We have many downtown festivals over the course of the year that shut down the business district on Main Street. We have the "Taste of Waterville", "ArtsFest", the "Autumn Family Festival" and then our "Parade of Lights" which is one of the city's longest and oldest traditions. 

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Chatham Santa

     Well, you know what the old adage says:  "If they don't complain, they ain't happy!".  Seems to me there are a couple of very happy people there in Haverhill, Mass!!!

     Another applicable adage:  "If it ain't broke, don't fix it!!!".

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Santa Marty

The parade should end where the sponsor's and organizers want it to.

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Santa Hill

Of the two parades I am a part of, one takes place throughout the entire downtown area but is from 7-9pm so most businesses would be closed by that time anyway.  The other one starts about 2 miles away and ends up downtown right on Main Street.  That parade runs from 6-8pm and the restaurants and business stay open and actually enjoy increased business before, during and after the parade.  This parade is followed by a musical performance by a local dance studio and school chorus groups all on Main Street across from the Historic Courthouse and History Center.

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Santa Leonard

My community does not have a parade - I wish they did!

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Santa Laureate

A Deli complains--- people eat!!!!----where's the beef???

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Elf Without Jingles

Well, apparently, the deli's owner is of the mind that if the Parade were to be moved to his part of the town, the situation would --- and, again, be aware that I'm merely guessing --- be such that for him to maintain the business would be financially unfeasible. But, as we're repeatedly learning, everyone these days is fighting over a, money; and b, the right to remain financially stable. No one can please everyone else; even I have had to learn this all too obvious truth.

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Santa Joel

There will be changes to Gray's night time parade this year. The Ingles where the parade started, has installed gas pumps and now they may not be able to stage the parade there in the future. It definitely generated revenue for the store and the nearby Ace Hardware as people needed last minuted hot chocolate, coffee and snacks or hardware for their floats. We built a float for the grand daughters' dance school last year but couldn't get the lights right before the judges came through.

N O T E :  DO NOT use a converter off the battery. It probably will not be enough juice and will come loose when you least expect it.

The high school parking lot will probably be the staging area this year. It was before. Probably a little different route, too. Kathy really enjoys building the floats. Well, she comes up with the ideas and I have to figure how to build it. 

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SantaKnows

I echo Santa Leonard's  thoughts!

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