For the past 19 years the Saturday after Thanksgiving has been set aside for the annual Branford Tree lighting parade that is attended by many of the town’s youngsters and visitors. Here, Santa, Mrs. Claus, and Rudolph arrive in the center on top of a vintage fire truck.
The parade starts at the high school and proceeds on East Main Street to the Town Green where Santa Claus shows his magic and lights the tree to the cheers of the children and their parents.
Fans of Santa are excited about his arrival.
The turnout for this year’s parade was the largest ever, as was the number of parade participants, according to Recreation Alex Palluzzi, whose staff plans and organizes the parade each year.
Leading the parade for the Recreation Department are John Canning, Scotty Regan and Palluzzi.
Selectmen Jamie Cosgrove and Jack Ahern, and State Rep. Sean Scanlon took part in the parade.
The crowd was four to six deep from Montowese Street to Town Hall Drive.
Frosty the Snowman was there with his mom.
“I can tell you it was the biggest tree lighting parade ever,” said Palluzzi. “We had close to 50 floats. The community, schools and sports groups really came out and went all out with their creativity.”
Floats were decorated by a number of schools, non-profits and local businesses and there were a large number of vintage cars as well.
Branford Rotary member Jeff Vailette drove a tractor with co-pilot Bill Van Wilgen.
It wouldn’t be a Branford parade without the Stony Creek Fife and Drum Corps.
The committee gave out a number of “Best of” awards including…
“Best Decorated Car” won by Town Clerk Lisa Arpin and her co-pilot Sandy Kraus decorated for a sky trip.
Branford Youth Football teams were among the many youth groups marching
Among the other winners were Walsh Intermediate School (Best School Spirit);
The Unified Sports float “This is Me,” Best Theme Float; Shoreline Community Church (Best Church Float),
Tisko School students with their “On Ice Float,” which won the Best Animation award; Branford Building Supply (Most Musical float), Sliney School (Best in Parade), Cherry Hill Glass (Best Decorated).
The tree looks festive.
Happy faces from young and old alike.