Tree Lighting Parade Brings Out Huge Crowd

Bill O'Brien PhotoIt couldn’t have been a better night. On Saturday, the 19th Annual Branford Tree Lighting Parade stepped off from Branford High School and headed to the Town Green with Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus on a vintage fire truck to light the town’s Christmas tree.

Bill O'Brien PhotoThe temperature was in the low 50s and that had a lot to do with the several thousand residents and friends that were lined up to 6-to-10 deep on sections along Main Street. They had waited for this moment. Especially the kids.

Bill O'Brien PhotoRecreation Director Alex Palluzzi, Jr., who coordinated this year’s parade, couldn’t be happier with the way the parade came together or the huge crowd that lined the route to Town Hall Drive where the marching units and floats remained until Santa lit the tree. “It turned out great,” Palluzzi said as he watched the Stony Creek Fife & Drum Corps.

Bill O'Brien Photo“We had 40 different groups this year and that was a record. It continues to get bigger and better each year.” The crowds told the story.

Bill O'Brien PhotoFirst Selectman Jamie Cosgrove (L) who walked in the parade with Selectman Jack Ahern said the parade flowed very well. “I was impressed. There were no gaps and the marchers and floats moved along very well.” He added, “And there was a nice crowd from the high school to Ivy Street but coming up the hill to the center it was bigger than I can ever remember.”

The town’s schools were well-represented.

Bill O'Brien PhotoThe Mary R.Tisko Elementary School float was all decked out.

Bill O'Brien PhotoNot to be outdone, “Snoopy” takes a little nap on the John B. Sliney Elementary School float. The kids follow their float with great cheer. 

Bill O'Brien PhotoNext came the Mary T. Murphy Elementary School float.

Bill O'Brien PhotoAnd the Branford Early Learning Center float. 

Bill O'Brien PhotoThe Walsh Intermediate School Float reminded the scores of spectators that Branford lives on the water.

Besides floats there were other moving objects.

Bill O'Brien PhotoHere is Phil Carloni driving one of the Rotary Club’s tractors. 

Bill O'Brien PhotoLaurie and Bill Van Wilgen had a special truck of their own.

Bill O'Brien PhotoSome from the Dan Cosgrove Animal Shelter led the way on four paws.

Bill O'Brien PhotoAnd one with four paws managed to find a way to be be held.

Bill O'Brien PhotoSome kids let others do the walking for them. They had the best seat in the house.

Bill O'Brien PhotoHere’s one on his Mom’s shoulder with Grandma smiling nearby.

Bill O'Brien PhotoLots of parents and grandparents came out on the pleasant evening for the parade and tree lighting.

Bill O'Brien PhotoAs Rev. Bill Keane of the First Baptist Church of Branford, who served as master of ceremonies, counted down with Santa from 10 down to one, there was a small glitch when the lights didn’t go on. By the time he joked that they were, “the new high efficiency lights that could last for 100 years” the lights came on.

Bill O'Brien PhotoThe crowd roared approval as the Christmas Tree on the town green came alive.

Bill O'Brien PhotoMembers of the Finta and Cosgrove families took a moment to pose with Santa before a glorious evening on the town green came to an end.

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