By Michaela Christiensen
Hampton Union, Tuesday, December 7, 2010
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online]
[Ioanna Raptis Photo]
HAMPTON -- Girl Scout Brenna Mooney, 9, of Hampton beamed as she walked down Lafayette Road wearing felt antlers. Four years ago, a 5-year-old Mooney participated in the Hampton Holiday Parade dressed as a daisy but that was the last parade the town would have until the event was brought back this year.
"We haven't had one in so many years," said mother Maryanne Mooney. "It's really nice to have it back."
Lafayette Road was lined with thousands of people waiting to see the parade on Saturday afternoon, Dec. 4.
Pat and Paul Nicholson of Hampton watched the parade go by in the crowd on the sidewalk.
"It's nice to see people of all ages come out for this event," said Pat Nicholson. She and her husband have lived in the town for more than 30 years.
Lela Niemi of Hampton took her children, Elijah, 7, and Maija, 4, to the parade for the first time.
"What's super fun about this is when you recognize some of the people in the parade as they go by," said Niemi. "I think my kids are really enjoying it."
Niemi said she was especially grateful to have something in town to go to this holiday season that was free.
Irene Frost of Hampton agreed. She was watching the parade with her granddaughter, Kaylee Molton, 4.
"Something like this is absolutely necessary for the kids," said Frost. "Especially after the tough couple of years many families have been having financially."
The parade announced its arrival as the town's fire trucks, ambulances and police cars blared their sirens as they led the way through downtown. The hour-long parade involved much of the community, including police officers on horses, veterans, bag pipers, Girl and Boy Scouts, Winnacunnet High School football players and a float made by the Parks and Recreation Department.
State Sen. Nancy Stiles of Hampton walked the route bundled in a heavy coat waving to parade watchers. An airplane flew a banner overhead that said "Happy Holidays from the 401 Tavern" paid for by the tavern's owner.
Matt Henderson, lead organizer for the parade, said felt the parade went really well for its first year back.
"It was a really good turnout and everybody followed the safety rules," said Henderson. "We're going to do even better next year."
[Ioanna Raptis Photo]