hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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February 27, 2014

Santa Parade debate: Should route go downtown?

Merchants, participants frown on suggestion

(Continued)

In 1986, the Santa Parade Committee talked about ways to raise money and return the parade to its original route through downtown.

At a public meeting that year, “We had a huge turnout from the Bradford residents and businesses, who said they wanted the route to stay the same,” said Parade Chairman Roland Ploudre.

Back across the river at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Haverhill which faces Kenoza Avenue on the current parade route, ministry intern Julie Lombardi said, “The church has a hot drink stand of sorts out front. But more important, the place acts as a terminus for the parade, and the parade makes more people aware of the food pantry. I gives it more attention so the parade is important for the church.

“If the parade route did not go to the church, they would not draw as large a crowd, and subsequently not as many donations for the food distribution program,” Lombardi said.

She said she thinks that a change in the route away from the church would impact the success of the food drive.

“It would be a great loss to the pantry and the people who love what they do, there,” she said.

The most recent Santa Parade featured more than 25 floats and more than 12 marching bands. The parade is annually on a Sunday in late November.

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