ITEM PHOTO BY OWEN O’ROURKE
Ryan McKenzie tests one of the floats that will be in the Saugus Christmas parade this year.
By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
SAUGUS — Santa Claus is coming to the Town of Saugus.
Escorted by the Saugus Police and Fire Departments, Santa Claus will ride in his sleigh atop a well-decorated float created by Ken Enos and a group of people who volunteer their time to make the parade possible.
“It’s a team effort,” Enos said. “It’s really nice that we can do this for the town. It’s all about the town.”
This year, the parade has seen a few improvements, he said.
“We did a lot of things differently this year,” he said. “Every light is different on the sleigh. We painted the trailer, used different decorations.”
The float is created using a trailer borrowed from the town’s Department of Public Works. The sleigh is placed on the trailer and decorations and lights are added to turn the trailer into a float each year.
“We’re going to have a new sleigh built next year,” Enos said. “Every year we have to take it off and have to give the trailer back to the DPW. Hopefully next year we can get a trailer just for the sleigh.”
“It looks a lot different than years past,” he said. “We used a ton of lights this year. We’re trying to keep it a little modern.”
Another popular attraction, the Candy House, also received a few upgrades this year, he said.
“We took 1,100 staples out of it and made it all LED (lights) this year,” he said. “All the garland and everythings is brand new.”
Between 40,000 and 45,000 pieces of candy will be tossed to the crowd from the Candy House. This year, the chairman of the Board of Selectmen Debra Panetta and her family will be pulling and riding on the float.
Enos said he’s hoping there will be at least 20 floats and a minimum of 35 emergency vehicles participating in the parade because of the expected warm weather conditions.
The parade will start at the fire station on Central Street at 6:30 p.m. and will travel through the town until about 10 p.m. At approximately 8:30 p.m., Santa will arrive in front of the Essex Street Fire Station, where he will get off the float and greet parade-goers. Hot chocolate, coffee, and donuts will be served, provided by Dunkin Donuts, said Enos.
“We also hand out candy canes when we get there,” Enos said. “It’s a nice little 15 to 20 minute thing. Santa gets off the float, hands out candy canes. There are hundreds of people down there.”
Santa’s parade route will be as follows:
6:30-6:35 p.m.: Hamilton, Saville and Elm streets.
6:35-6:45: Fairmont, Sherman, Garfield, Newcomb and Edison.
6:45-7:00: North Saugus School, Indian Rock Drive and Arrowhead Drive
7:00-7:15: Walnut, Central, Jane Drive, Diane Drive., Pearl Road.
7:15-7:30: Central, Appleton, Summer, Taylor streets.
7:30-7:45: Saugus Center in front of Town Hall.
7:45-8:00: Main Street, Saugus Commons, Main Street, Forest Street.
8:00-8:15: Fellsway, Main, Hickory, Juniper Drive.
8:15-8:20: Howard, Main, Pierce Drive
8:20-8:30: Highland, Talbot, Heritage House, Vine Street.
8:30-8:35: Essex to Fire Station.
8:50-8:55: Essex, Mt. Vernon, Laurel streets.
8:55-9:00: Lincoln Avenue and Cliftondale Square
9:00-9:05: Lincoln Avenue and Seagirt Avenue.
9:05-9:15: Venice, Wickford, Pevwell, Gates, Richards Streets.
9:15-9:25: Dudley, Ballard, Johnson, Vincent, Chestnut.
9:25-9:30: Winter Street to Central Street.
9:30-9:45: Denver, Laurel Gardens, Elmwood, Adams Avenue.
9:45-9:55: Central, Hurd, Westland, Springdale, Stone Street.
9:55-10:00: Central Street to Saugus Center.
The most important part of the parade, Enos said, is that the whole town comes together both to organize the event and enjoy it on Christmas Eve. “A lot of people are really dedicated and give up their Christmas Eve to do this, to see the kids smile,” he said.
Sponsors and contributors to the parade include Target, Home Depot, J. Pace & Son, Bagley and Ragucci Builders, American Ambulance, Saugus Police Patrolmen’s Union, Saugus Police Superior Officers Union, McGarvey Towing, Hammersmith, Walmart, Nasty Nonni’s Liquors, and individuals who made donations, financial or otherwise.
“We’ve had some really big crowds,” he said. “All the families hang out on the corner and see us coming.”
Lynn Parade Plans
Organizers of the Lynn Christmas Eve Parade are also expecting an exceptionally large crowd this year, said Jay Walsh.
“We’re watching the weather and the high temperatures but I predict we’re looking at a large crowd,” Walsh said. “We will probably have more floats than usual. We’re expecting around 75 but we could definitely have 100.”
The parade starts at 5 p.m. and is expected to run until 9 or 10 p.m., he said.
A Facebook page for the event can be found under Official Lynn MA Christmas Parade.
The route, which covers about 22 miles of the city, is as follows:
5 p.m.: Parade starts at Summer Street and Austin Square
5:15: Boston Street, Myrtle Street, Holyoke Street, O’Callaghan Way.
5:30: Walnut Street, Linwood Road, North Franklin Street.
5:45: Boston Street, Cottage Street, McDonough Square.
6:00: Western Avenue, Market Square, Pleasant Street, State Street.
6:15: Market Square, So. Common Street, Pleasant Street, State Street.
6:30: Broad Street, Lewis Street, Lafayette Park.
6:45: Fayette Street, Essex Street to Chestnut Street.
7:15: Western Avenue, Chatham Street, Lewis Street, left onto …
7:45: Eastern Avenue to Western Avenue.
8:00: Stanwood Road, Fernwood Avenue, Chase Road, Euclid Avenue to Broadway.
8:30: Jenness Street, Den Quarry Road, Cedar Brook Road.
9:00: York Road, Casco Road.
9:15: Lynnfield Street, Wyoma Square.
9:30: Broadway, Boston Street, Lynngate Plaza.
“Sometimes it takes a little longer, Mr. and Mrs. Claus sometimes stop to talk to kids,” Walsh said. “We will be posting on that Facebook page where we’re at to kind of give an update to people. We’ll utilize that the best we can.”
Bridget Turcotte can be reached at [email protected]