Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Candy, Bands & Award Highlight Holiday Parade 2010

Story and photos by Lisa E. Crowley
The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON—Melissa Rodriguez with her one-year-old Chihuaha Guido watched, waved and cheered as thousands of musicians, students in costume and vehicles decorated in bright Christmas and holiday motifs passed by on Main Street for the 24th annual Greater Brockton Holiday Parade.
Rodriguez, 32, (Pictured above with Guido) said she has been going to the parade since she was a little girl, but it was Guido’s first and it was unclear if the dog was shivering from the 40-plus degree temperature or overwhelmed by the cacophony from all the bands, horns and sirens from the parade passing by.
Rodriguez tucked the dog into her coat to protect Guido from the cold and the noise.
“She’s not sure what’s going on,” Rodriguez said patting the puppy’s reindeer-antlered head.
Rodriguez said she wouldn’t miss the parade because she loves all of the bands, and enjoys watching all the kids, including her two nephews shout and chase the gifts many parade walkers threw to spectators.
“I love the excitement, the people—and my nephews, they love the candy,” Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez joined an estimated 5,000 to 10,000 who filled the city’s downtown area for the parade’s 24th year.
Thousands of marchers included the Brockton High School Marching Band and ROTC, Abington High School and Oliver Ames bands, local police and fire departments, dance schools, cheerleading and color guard squads, antique cars and Santa Claus on his sled.
Many youngsters were treated to candy being thrown from costumed adults and children on floats or handed to them by walkers along the route.
There were more than 100 organizations, schools and businesses who marched in the parade.
Raymond Gaston, who had his 3-year-old son Unique on his shoulders, (Pictured at right) said it was their first year at the parade and the whole family, including wife Sabine, and daughter Raena, 6, waited to see another child, 8th grader Nubia who was marching in the parade playing the flute with the West Junior High Band.
"This is really great," Raymond Gaston said. "There's a lot of people and bands. It's bigger than we thought," he said.
Along with the parade, a holiday craft bizarre was held at City Hall and included face painting and carolers from Brockton High’s chorus and choir and at the main branch of the public library children were treated to numerous activities. (Chorus-choir members pictured above Joey Vaccaro, 14, in foreground, and best friends, Kara Ward, 16, and Madison Howes, 17, sing at City Hall)
Crafters at the bizarre included Brockton High students Olivia Sundstrom, 17 and Tiffany DeMoura, 16, (Pictured above from left to right)
Following the parade, hundreds assembled outside City Hall for the first James Edgar Citizenship Award ceremony and annual tree lighting.
This year’s parade Grand Marshal was U.S. Senator Scott Brown who along with walking at the front of the parade with his wife and family presented the award to Dave Gorman, a Brockton resident who has volunteered for the city for more than 30 years, including the weekly road races for youngsters at D.W. Field Park during the summer and the upcoming Jingle Bell Run, a 2-mile run-walk for charity. (Pictured at top of page with Scott Brown and directly above)
Gorman, unaccustomed to the limelight, thanked everyone for the honor and gave a reminder about the Dec. 11 run.
“Just join my run Dec. 11,” Gorman said.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Brockton Takes Back Santa Hat Title

Story and photos by Lisa E. Crowley
The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON—A sea of red hats filled a portion of Brockton’s downtown Sunday after more than 800 people gathered to reclaim the world record for the most people wearing Santa Claus hats at one time and in one place.
“I love this--this is awesome,” said Dan Clague, who along with his mother Betsy and father Dan rode their bikes about 2 miles to attend the rally. (Pictured on bikes)
Head organizer John Merian, owner of Tuxedos by Merian on Main Street, said between 840 and 872 were registered for the event and although it’s unlikely Guinness Book of World Records will sanction the gathering, for all intents and purposes Brockton has wrested the Santa hat title back from Mullingar, Ireland—which last year also unofficially topped Brockton’s record from 2008.
“Whether or not Guinness Book sanctions it or not doesn’t matter,” Merian said. “We beat Mullingar,” he said.
During the event that began at 11:30 a.m., organizers announced at about 1 p.m. 872 people had been counted as wearing a Santa hat.
Merian said the number is unofficial and will be checked this week by an independent certified accountant.
Even though the record-breaking day may not appear in the Guinness Book of World Records because of the expense and complications of the process, Merian said the hundreds who came out learned more about the city’s history and James Edgar’s role in that past.
Edgar, a Brockton businessman who owned now defunct department stores on Main Street where the rally was held, is credited as being the first to put on a Santa suit and greet patrons at the doors of his stores, becoming the first department store Santa in 1890—a move that has been embraced by retailers, most notably Macy’s.
That connection to Santa, Merian said, was the impetus for the first Santa Hat Challenge in 2008 when Brockton set the record at 507.
Mullingar, Ireland, a town about 60 minutes northwest of Dublin, held a similar downtown music and holiday festival last year unofficially set the record at 714.
During Sunday’s rally in Brockton, hundreds of parents and children danced to holiday music that echoed along the closed street and reached for the more than 200 T-shirts commemorating the record-breaking day that were thrown to the crowd by organizers.
Merian’s son Levon, a sophomore at Brockton High who helped hand out registration tickets, said it doesn’t really matter if the day counts as a record because the city likely has recaptured the Santa hat crown twice since Mullingar took it away last year and again more recently on Friday afternoon when more than 2,000 students at Brockton High donned hats in a dry-run of Sunday’s official count.
“It’s OK if we don’t break it because we always have next year,” Levon Merian said. (Pictured above at back with, from left to right, sister Maral, Amanda Morel, and Micah Morel)
The Santa Hat Challenge is a precursor to the city’s annual Holiday Parade that draws more than 5,000 to the city center.
Parade festivities kickoff next Saturday, Nov. 27 at 10 a.m. The parade begins at 1 p.m.
As a warm-up for the parade, many said the Santa Hat Challenge was a success.
“They love this,” said Shannon Bunting, who brought her two boys and two nieces who spent the 90 minutes dancing and spinning around before niece Dana Noyce’s 5th birthday party at 3 p.m. Sunday afternoon. (Dana Noyce dancing below)
“We love anything that tires them out,” Bunting said.
A group of Brookfield School girls--recipients of a handful of the 10,000 Santa hats handed out to the elementary schools and Brockton High by Merian with the help of Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital—danced to the music and screamed for organizers to throw T-shirts their way.
“This is fun,” said 12-year-old Leah Burke. (Pictured above with Leann Coker, Talia Provenzano and others)
Jon Lagerstedt had his 7-year-old son Nathan on his shoulders (Pictured below) as the boy waved and smiled at the throngs milling below him.
“We hope we set the record, but if not, we’re having a great time,” said Lagerstedt as he listened to Elvis Presley’s “Blue Christmas” played by DJ Joe Lupica.
Dana Studley came to the rally with her daughter River, who turns 9 on Friday, and husband John, a Brockton native, after hearing about it early Sunday morning. “We jumped out of bed, got ready and came down to support the city,” Studley said. (Pictured below with daughter River)
It’s unclear if the record will be official, but John Merian said he believes that is beside the point.
“It’s really not about breaking a record—it’s about children learning about the history of their city,” Merian said. “Not one person leaving here didn’t have a good time and hopefully they will come back next year,” he said.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Santa Hat Record On The Line Sunday

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--As the photo shows, we here at BrocktonPost.com have put on our red-and-white Santa hats in anticipation of regaining the Guiness Book of World Records title for the most people wearing Santa hats in one place and at the same time--a record Brockton set in 2008 and was captured by the Irish town of Mullingar, located about one hour northwest of Dublin.
Last year Mullingar beat Brockton's record 719 to 507, but from the emails we've received, it looks like the good folks in Mullingar are going to be crying in their pints after the Santa Hat Challenge in Brockton's downtown and Main Street on Sunday, because it looks like we here in Brockton aren't going to let this title loss go unchallenged.
Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital has teamed up with organizers of the Santa Hat Challenge and have given 10,000 Santa hats to kids at Brockton High School and all of the elementary schools.
We're gonna cream 'em!
Hey kids---you just better show up! And bring your parents! And don't forget your hats!
So Remember, the Santa Hat Challenge begins at 11:30 a.m. in the area of Main and Crescent streets with DJ Joe Lupica playing holiday music.
Everyone with a hat needs to register--look for the organizer's table near the parking garage.
Worried about parking? There's a parking garage right there and it's inexpensive.
Everyone who registers for the challenge is automatically eligible for a raffle of 30 fun and exciting prizes.
The official count begins at Noon and no matter what, anyone wearing a Santa hat has to be there by 1 p.m. for THE count.
If you don't have a Santa hat, you can pick one up at the event for $1.
Let's knock out Mullingar! See you there!

Monday, November 15, 2010

BHS Class of 2000 Hosts First Reunion

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--Brockton High School Class of 2000 will hold its first reunion--the class' 10th year anniversary--Saturday November 27 at the Brockton Holiday Inn from 7 p.m. to Midnight.
Class members are asked to bring their yearbooks and bring their business cards because the event will be a huge networking opportunity.
The business cards will also be used as a part of a raffle during the night's festivities which include a DJ, appetizers and cash bar.
Tickets are $25 before the event and $35 at the door.
For tickets email Susie (Blanchette) Shaw at sueq82@aol.com or call Susie at 401-527-0591 or visit Facebook at “Brockton High." Paypal is available.

Garden Club Falls Into Fashion

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON—The models may not have been named Gisele or Iman and the labels on the clothes were from Dress Barn in Avon and not Calvin Klein in Paris, but a handful of Brockton Garden Club members bared shoulders, swung pocketbooks and twirled hemlines along a red carpet to raise money for student scholarships.
“It was a great success,” said Bobbie LeMasa, who headed a group of volunteers who hosted Sunday’s fall fashion show at the Council on Aging.
“Everybody’s having a good time,” LeMasa said. “I hoped to sell 50 tickets and we sold 96,” she said.
Nearly 100 residents, mostly women, attended the fashion show that featured an oozing and delicious melting chocolate fountain for dipping with pretzels and pound cake.
Each table held baskets of desserts such as ├ęclairs, cream puffs and other sweets and tasty fresh made sandwiches—all made by volunteers.
The models—members of the garden club—showcased fall fashions offered by Dress Barn. Models sacheted along a red carpet in the middle of the tables and highlighted the clothing retailer's collection of casual wear, evening and work ensembles and holiday evening dresses.
Birute Silvia, one of the models, said she worried about walking down the aisle and had one thing most in mind before stepping onto the red carpet.
“Don’t fall, don’t fall,” Silvia said.
All proceeds from the event will support the garden club’s scholarship fund.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Veteran's Day Parade Thursday

Brockton’s annual Veteran’s Day Parade will be held Thursday, Nov. 11. The parade will start at the Brockton Fairgrounds Belmont Street entrance at 10 a.m.
The parade will proceed down Belmont Street, and take a left onto Main Street, with a brief pause on Main Street at School Street for the Brockton Fire Fighters Pipes and Drums Band Strand Theater tribute.
The parade will then proceed down Main Street and take a left on Legion Parkway for a brief ceremony at the monument to honor all veterans.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Brockton Garden Club Fall Into Fashion

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--The Brockton Garden Club will host "Fall into Fashion," a fashion show to help raise money for the club's scholarship fund.
The show will be held Sunday, Nov. 14 at 2 p.m. at the Council on Aging, 10 Father Kenney Way.
The cost is $20 per ticket.
Light refreshments will be served.
For more information, contact Garden Club member Bobbie Lemasa at 508-584-2710 or Mary Jones at 508-583-4856.
To order tickets via email contact brocktongc@verizon.net.