Falmouth's Christmas by-the-sea weekend is always among my favorites of the entire year - and this local festive tradition always culminates on Sunday with the Main Street's rolling pageant, where thousands of Falmouthites gather for Southeastern Massachusetts' largest holiday parade. The good tidings for me began on Saturday this year, as I ran into a holiday merriment-spreading Bob Marshall taking my weekly weekend walk downtown. We had an enjoyable stroll down memory lane together, and were even joined, both in our memories and then in person, by another festive Falmouthite, Bill Smith. This enjoyable encounter started the weekend off on a wonderfully seasonal note. The good vibes and good times continued.
As I drove down Main Street on Sunday morning, I spotted another festive face, this one in full uniform, walking down near the post office. Fearing that maybe Chief Anthony Riello had lost his way, I pulled over and offered a ride. He gladly accepted and I was the beneficiary of another nice chat and some more cheer. (By the way, he wasn't lost, just had strategically parked his car at the end of the parade route).
The parade itself was one of the best ever, with many smiling faces to highlight the route. With daughters Syd and Jenna by my side, and pal and photomaster Amy Rader close by, we perched at the end of Shore Street for a great mid-route view. As men in blue Bob Murray and Jeff Smith slowly rolled by, we knew that the festivities were imminent. Chamber Board members headlined this 47th edition, and the civic-minded father and son team of Jack and Thomas Moakley filled my heart with more warmth than the hot chocolate in my hand. Chamber stalwart Steve Spitz was beaming as well. These frontmen were followed by the official Falmouth delegation - with a Falmouth first.
Congressman-elect Bill Keating made good on his commitment to stay close to the community, marching in the parade and taking time to say hello. He was joined by now veteran State Rep. Tim Madden, who promised an RMV office under the tree, flanked by his smiling new colleague Dave Vieira in his first parade in years without a funny hat and bell, as he's traded in his Town Crier outfit for the more traditional garb of a Beacon Hiller.
This team was rounded out by retired but still cherished Rep. Eric Turkington and our own local leaders from the corner conference room of Town Hall. Syd and Jenna enjoyed a hug with old friend Pat Flynn.
Mark Sullivan enjoyed his first parade while carrying his new moniker, and the aforementioned Chief Riello joined him in the jolly walk down Main Street. The FHS band was impressive as always, and chief baton waver Steve Edwards was rightfully beaming. Speaking of FHS, Mr. and Ms. Clipper also showed some Clipper pride, as Meghan Anderson and John Lavin shared smiles with the crowd from their convertible. I caught a wink from a bagpipe playing Matt Murphy and an always-smiling hello from Laura Lorusso Peterson, leading a group of young girl scouts through the route. A Christmas parade would not be complete without a Calfee in an antique car, and this year's edition was true to form, with son Davidson escorting Dad Art in an open-air edition.
Jenna shared a wink and a smile with dancing friend Jessica Backholm, who joined her Falmouth Dance Academy mates in an always show-stopping performance under the watchful eye of many helpers, including Miss Pat Sergio, who was in her usual spot. The Burrito Place never disappoints with their ho ho ho2536 of a float, this year featuring a Mom and son duo of Chris and Brendan Smith, and a glowing Damien Palanza at the helm.
The Falmouth Rotary was well represented in their award winning float, led by the steady hand of John Vidal, and enhanced by an inspiring "We are the World" on the speakers. I didn't see pal Jack Rosenbaum on the float, as he's probably still searching for Julia Roberts from last year's parade.
FCTV vet Kevin Lynch was a welcome participant, as was juggler and unicycler extraordinaire Allen Moniz.
As the parade wound down, I thought I heard an offer from one of Falmouth's finest to help me put up my Christmas lights, but old pal Dave Braga knows better, having had that painful experience before. Speaking of hearing, the sounds of the season were clear from a radiating Leanne Carbone as she shared a holiday hello.
The Chamber trolley rolled by, with a smiling and beaming Jay Zavala saying hello and receiving kudos from a grateful community for another job well done. Finally, Santa, pulled in his steel sleigh appropriately by local philanthropist Harry Turner, who does as much as Santa for his adopted hometown, said hello from the Wings for Falmouth Families festive float.
Another year and another unforgettable Christmas parade. Isn't Falmouth Nice!
This column is reprinted from the Falmouth Enterprise.