Troy's Take: The Beauty of Falmouth's Christmas Parade

Troy ClarksonAmy Rader Photographer - Troy Clarkson

The Falmouth Christmas parade is so much more than the pageantry of the day. Yes, the colors, sounds, and memories of this annual celebration of the season capture the imaginations and stimulate the senses of the multitudes who gather to watch along the meandering procession through the heart of our downtown, but this day has an even greater meaning and purpose for Falmouth.

To find the true meaning—the true value—of this event, which is sponsored by the Falmouth Chamber of Commerce and supported ably by the volunteer efforts of the parade committee, you have to find the people who work for weeks and sometimes months leading up to the holiday spectacle, our annual community Christmas miracle. They exemplify the community spirit and community commitment that is the real significance of this special day. 

Elizabeth Sherman is one of those people. Her love for her hometown of Falmouth is boundless, instilled in her by her parents, legendary Falmouth volunteers Rich and Kathy Sherman. This affection for her hometown was manifested during Sunday’s rolling pageant through our revitalized downtown. As the quarterback for the Carousel of Light’s entry in the parade, Elizabeth coordinated, cajoled, and cheered her volunteer colleagues into producing an award-winning entry, showcasing Lance Shinkle’s hand-carved masterpiece with unparalleled flair and splendor, and winning the hearts of the parade committee, who rewarded Elizabeth’s creativity and leadership with the “Committee Choice Award,” a recognition of the weeks of planning, days of preparation, and hours of execution. Liz’s selfless and loving efforts, joined enthusiastically by Carousel of Light volunteers Lissie Hoffert, Nick Kleimola, Ben Smith, Justin Perkins, and supported on the float by Mrs. Claus (a glowing Denise Terry) and a baltering Carousel of Light president and omnipresent volunteer Jim Bowen, illustrate the spirit of Falmouth that this holiday happening reveals for all to see.

That spirit hung like a festive wreath over the entire parade route on Sunday. The cheerful mood was palpable as Donna and I strolled from Palmer Avenue to our perch in front of Stone’s Barber Shop. As we made our way down the sidewalk, I spotted a jolly Ken Buckland surveying the hot cider at the Bean & Cod. I heard reports of a celebrity sighting (did anyone else see Julia Roberts along the parade route?) from dear friends Jack Rosenbaum and Annie Holden.

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As I poked my head in to check on the hot dog sales from the Masons, old FHS pal Brian Ferreira offered a warm holiday hello. Speaking of warm, local plumbing guru Dave Costa was staying toasty by the flaming heaters at Anejo as he offered an ebullient Christmas greeting, just as Falmouth Police Department veteran Rich Castleberry was warmly engaging in community policing with revelers along the route.

As we meandered down the day’s rue de revelry, John Hickey was brewing something special, having made the long trek from Bourne to enjoy the day, just as he passed Tim Moniz and his festively festooned pooch. Local mechanic Paul Siegmund was fixing something special at his shop across from Betsy’s just as a jauntily dressed Jessica Prendergast was remarking, “Isn’t Falmouth Nice!”

As we finally nestled in at our chosen viewing locale, joined by my mom, Donna Stone, nephew Brady Perkins and my ever-beaming daughter, Sydney, the procession began with the welcoming site of our dedicated constabulary, led by Sergeant Chris Hamilton, and swiftly followed by longtime biker, Detective Bob Murray. The police honor guard was proudly carrying the colors, professionally represented by PD stalwarts Brian Kinsella, Dean Eisen, and Jim Rogers. 

State Representatives in Attendance

Town crier David Vieira then announced the coming spectacle, ever representing his home with passion and professionalism. A bevy of celebratory public servants then charted the parade route, led by citizen of the year Mike Duffany. Congressman Bill Keating took the time to offer a holiday handshake, just as I caught a twinkle in the eye of State Representative Tim Madden. The town hall tandem of Pat Flynn and Rebecca Moffitt were both appropriately merry, while colleague Kevin Murphy spread smiles and cheer to all. Town manager Julian Suso administrated a warm response, ably assisted by skillful sidekick Heather Harper. Former selectmen Ahmed Mustafa and Andy Dufresne then followed close by, proudly representing their status as veterans—both of our armed forces and of public service here in Falmouth. Amvets fixture Phil (Flea) Furtado also added some merriment to the day.

Where else but Falmouth and when else but this Christmas-by-the-Sea weekend can you enjoy the pleasure and proficiency of young people flipping down our thoroughfare? As the smile waned from that spectacle, the sounds of the FHS band filled the chilly air. Steve Edwards continues to lead an enthusiastic and talented bunch, equaled only by the FHS cheerleaders and their leader Gretchen Lenox who followed.

Falmouthites Steven Kapulka and Doug Gregory escorted tomorrow’s ice hockey standouts representing Falmouth Youth Hockey, just as a smiling Jenn Connors cheerfully chomped on a turkey leg as she sauntered by. A troupe of troops then shared some smiles, as Boy Scouts of America leaders Tom Pandisco, Drawde Geishecker, and Richard Peal escorted a bevy of Boy Scouts. 

A proud and grateful roar erupted as Kevin Lynch and Carole Kenney headlined the offering from the Falmouth Military Support Group, followed by Scott Thrasher, Steve DeMatos and our fire department honor guard proudly displaying the colors. Falmouth’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) was ably guided down the road by Dan DiNardo, and East Falmouth standout Tony Spagone proudly represented the Knights of Columbus.

Just as the Carousel of Light’s labor of love was finishing up at the Village Green, another group of uber-volunteers displayed their volunteer chef-d’oeuvre. The Falmouth Commodores continue to demonstrate the true meaning of team, as our hometown baseball crew put together a perfect game of a float, expertly organized by dedicated supporters Staci Santos and Cheryl Brennan.

The float came alive with team president Steve Kostas beaming a winning smile, supported by tireless volunteer Donna Curtis. This superb squad is indeed Falmouth’s team. 

The Sea Crest brought grins to all with its funky offering, as happy hotelier Clark Guinn offered tidings of comfort and joy. The Falmouth Housing Trust displayed their Odd Fellows, led by proud fellow Carey Murphy and cheerful coordinator Annie Saganic. 

As the Wells Fargo wagon passed and Santa offered a wave aboard the Mahoney’s express, Officer Ruben Ferrer helped clean up the scene. As we made our way back to our own Christmas village on Palmer Avenue, I enjoyed a hug and hello with old pal, erstwhile arborist and all-around maharishi Brian Dale. As I sipped on a delightful hot chocolate with real whipped cream provided by Main Street mayor Mark Cilfone, the first fella of flavortown, I breathed a deep sigh of gratitude, soaking in the spirit that still enveloped our special village. 

Yes, the pageantry is superior, but the spirit of the season—and the people who make it special—are the true meaning of this uniquely Falmouth day.

Mr. Clarkson may be contacted at votetroy99@aol.com and followed on Twitter @TroyClarkson59.

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