Thousands enjoy the Kennett Square Holiday Light Parade11/29/2023 11:30AM ● By Chris Barber
Kennett Square’s Holiday Light Parade and Tree Lighting on Saturday night was so heavily attended that it appeared to rival -- if not exceed -- the popularity of the legendary Memorial Day Parade.
Posted throughout the route up Broad Street and along State Street, the spectators were packed in – often five deep. And even with temperatures hovering in the low 30s, many families arrived with young children and bundled-up infants – some who appeared far from reaching their first birthdays. None of them looked as if they were bothered at all by the cold.
The thousands of people on hand were celebrating the holidays, shopping and often grabbing dinner at Kennett Square restaurants. Many came from afar.
Heard conversing in the crowd were visitors from outside the area: “I’ve never been here before.” Another longtime resident remarked, “I don’t know these people.”
The event this year was changed from the traditional Black Friday to post-Thanksgiving Saturday. This move combined the parade with “Small Business Saturday” in a town that has many small businesses.
Even the change in date did not seem to result in any decline in attendance. In fact, Santa Claus, aka Fran Durynski, said it looked to him as if there were even more people this year than last.
Mrs. Santa Claus, aka Andrea Durynski, said she wondered ahead of time if the crowd would be less because of the change of days. Her doubts were allayed as she and her husband rode through town in the back seat of Lou Mandich’s 1918 Buick Touring car, greeted wildly by folks yelling out “Hey Santa!” and “Hey Mrs. Claus!”
Mrs. Claus said, “The Kennett Collaborative [which organized the parade this year] should be proud. It was wonderful, and I was so happy to be part of it.”
The Clauses brought up the rear of the hour-long procession, which they concluded by counting down with the crowd for the lighting of the town tree. They later greeted children who shared their Christmas wishes and sat for photos.
Kennett Square Mayor Matt Fetick was Master of Ceremonies, standing on a large trailer in the middle of town, greeting the crowd and announcing the floats.
The pre-parade entertainment came at 6 p.m. with a tap-dance performance to “Jingle Bells” by the students of Longwood Performing Arts. Then the band front and musicians from Kennett High School led the procession through the town.
The vehicles that participated included trucks, old cars, local emergency vehicles, tractors and some marchers. They represented non-profits, businesses and local fire companies. Toward the end, a couple of horse-drawn carriages appeared as well. They too were draped with lights.
Kennett Square continues its celebration of the holidays with Tinsel on the Town shopping night on Dec. 8 and the Midnight on the Square New Year’s Eve Mushroom Drop on Dec. 31.