Holiday Light Parade shines brightly in Kennett Square11/29/2021 09:59PM ● By Steven Hoffman
The chilly wind and falling temperatures might have given rise to doubts about the anticipated size of the audience for Kennett Square’s Holiday Light Parade last Friday, but those doubts didn’t bear fruit. In fact, the crowd was large that people lined the State Street sidewalks three-deep all the way from the parade’s starting point at Lafayette Street all the way to Broad Street.
The electronics entertainment crew beckoned the visitors beforehand with loud, vintage Christmas music from decades-past—including crooners Andy Williams and Perry Como. It was the “most wonderful time of the year.” Several souvenir vendors pushed their carts through town.
Matt Fetick, the borough’s mayor and Master of Ceremonies, announced at the opening that this 2021 parade was the largest Christmas parade that Kennett Square had ever had with more than 70 participants and events.
A testament to the toughness of the parade spectators was that they bundled even the youngest of children in coats and blankets to endure that cold night and witness the arrival of Santa Claus. In fact, some kids were wrapped so cozily that it was hard to determine whether their were more children or blankets.
Preliminary to the march eastward through town was the annual dance performance by the students of Longwood Performing Arts. This year, they were decked out in perky, white waitress outfits and tap-danced to an “I’ve Got It” tune, carrying makeshift trays and glasses. They performed their show twice and both times received roars of appreciation as they concluded with Rockettes-like high kicking.
The parade started on time at 6:15 p.m., and one after another the floats arrived. Most of them were covered from top to bottom – stem to stern – with bright Christmas lights. Some participants walked in groups. Some represented local businesses. Some were parts of local non-profits. All had staged beforehand at the west end of the show at Lafayette Street and made certain that their trucks and floats were all set to shine through the trip.
The high point of the evening was the arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus – aka Fran and Andrea Durynski – who brought up the rear of the parade in a 1918 Buick driven by antique vehicle aficionado Lou Mandich. Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus stopped at the town tree next to Genesis Health Ventures, counted down from five and turned it on, eliciting cheers from the crowd.
Mrs. Santa said she thoroughly enjoyed the evening.
“I felt like a celebrity,” she said.
She added that while she was unable to hug the children in consideration of the past year’s COVID-19 cautions, she and her husband were happy to have their pictures taken with their fans. She said she was impressed how orderly and polite the people were. She announced to the crowd that she and her husband were pleased to be invited to the event by Mayor Fetick.
“Kennett Square is one of our favorite towns to visit,” she said.
In retrospect of the evening, she said it went so well that they are considering not having the drawn out “meet and greet” after the lighting anymore because the picture-taking worked out so well and efficiently.
Mr. and Mrs. Santa Claus are scheduled to arrive in West Grove via fire truck this Thursday at 7 p.m. and at Ace Hardware in Pocopson for pet pictures on Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.