Nighttime Christmas Parade made for a night to remember

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Studio Airlines Flight 109, representing Studio 109 Dance, Voice & Drama prepares for takeoff on Monday night. The float won Best of Parade. (Rochester Voice photos)

ROCHESTER - Rochester's Christmas Parade got off a day late but it sure wasn't a dollar short. The folk's got their money's worth.

Holding the parade at night added an air of excitement as 66 entries, including 12 floats rolled down Wakefield and Union streets before marching through the downtown to the Common.

As floats, bands and emergency vehicles queued up behind the high school, dancers from Route 109 Dance Studio stood behind their grand-prize winning entry awaiting their turn to begin their march.

Bektash Shriner Clowns of New Hampshire Scott 'Chip' Hodgdon, Martin 'Happy' Koechel and David Dickson wave as they prepare to take to the streets Monday night for Rochester's Christmas Parade. They were co-sponsored by Atlantic Broadband, Eastern Propane & Oil, and Walmart.

Just behind them Chuck Hussey of Sanford, Maine, and Jake Murray of Hollis, Maine, rode the vintage Oakhurst Dairy milk wagon built in 1834.

The theme of this year's parade was "Christmas Around the World," and keeping with that tradition the American Legion crafted a float that paid tribute to service members deployed around the globe helping to keep America safe and free. The float took first place in the Organizational Division.

Parade officials made the difficult decision on Sunday to postpone the parade till Monday due to rainy conditions, which forced the cancellation of some groups. But the move paid off in the end as Monday's nighttime temperatures were among the mildest this week and made for a festive and pleasant night for marchers and those on floats.

Kim Hatch of Rochester and Bob Hoitt, commander of the Sons of the American Legion, ride in their award-winning American Legion float that paid homage to our armed forces serving all over the world.

Kim Hatch of Rochester and Bob Hoitt, commander of the Sons of the Legion, said they were having a great time atop their award-winning float. Each had a sign thanking servicemen and women for their sacrifice and service whether deployed overseas or here at home.

Also honored were the parade's grand marshals: Citizen of the Year, Hoagy Higgins; Greg Hopkins, Noah Behrend and Jeremy Lovett of Business of the Year HBL Group LLC; and Julie Reynolds, executive director of Cornerstone VNA, Nonprofit of the Year.

The parade also serves as a support mechanism for the Rochester Fire Department's annual Toy Bank campaign. Donations are now being sought for new, unwrapped toys and other gift items for local children in need from infant to age 14. Items may be dropped off prior to the parade at the Greater Rochester Chamber of Commerce office at 18 South Main Street in Rochester or at the Rochester Fire Department's downtown or Gonic stations.

For more information on the Rochester Firefighter's annual Toy Bank campaign, please contact the Rochester Fire Department at 603-335-7545.

Award-winning floats included:


Studio 109 Dance, Voice & Drama


First Place: Rochester Youth Football


First Place: American Legion Post 7

Second Place: American Cancer Society

Third Place: First United Methodist Church


First Place: First City Cars & Trucks

Second Place: Service Credit Union

Third Place: Somersworth Cycle/RC Cars

This year's parade was underwritten by Service Credit Union.

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