Collingswood Holiday Parade Draws Thousands Saturday
Both sides of Haddon Avenue were lined with thousands Saturday morning, making the annual Holiday Parade another success.
A 16-block stretch of Haddon Avenue came to life on Saturday. The street pulsed, thousands of people beating rhythm into the 2010 Holiday Parade.
Originally set to run from 10 a.m. to noon, this year's parade surpassed expectations. With its colossal line-up to deliver, the parade didn't end until 12:30 p.m.
Between marching and string bands, mummers, bagpipers, classic cars, motorcycles, candy-throwers and dancers, Saturday's parade maintained favorite traditions.
Amanda Beal, 28, of Westville, has taken 8-year-old son Jason Porten to the parade since he was two. Six years later, Jason's still reliving his favorite part.
"I'm here for the motorcycles," said Porten through a grin. "I like when they do tricks. I'm going to ride a motorcycle someday. Mom even said I'll be allowed to."
Nearly 40 motorcycles opened the parade, followed by a vast array of floats. NBC 10 "News Today" anchor Terry Ruggles was pulled by horse-and-buggy, Ruggles' chariot as 2010 parade marshal. Collingswood Borough Mayor James Maley waved to the masses, walking the route on foot.
Thousands of different sized hands waved back, shooting up from sidewalk folding-chairs, from stoops of homes and businesses, even from the trunks of SUVs parked along the avenue.
Three-year-old Elle Tagmire, of Westmont, stood leaning against a tree, soaking up her second-ever Collingswood Holiday Parade.
"I would like to see — just that big old elephant," said Elle of her expectations.
Her father chuckles, then whispers in her ear. Elle nods, innocently dismissing her father's notion that there is no such elephant in the Collingswood parade.
"The monkey man, then," said Elle, reluctant to give up her elephant hopes.
The monkey man appeared soon enough. The middle-aged man clutched only a box and a ball of fuzz. Squeals followed him down Haddon Avenue, as children realized a dollar donation bought them the chance to pet a real, live monkey.
Squeals followed the monkey everywhere Saturday. But the loudest cheers were reserved someone else — a man responsible for bringing thousands of different people together in a joint sense of community — Santa Claus.
"Today is about the spirit of Christmas, togetherness and community," said 25-year-old Collingswood native Jessica Cobb, whose children spent the day enjoying the same parade Cobb enjoyed as a child.
The loudest cheers were for Santa, riding in on the final float. In a single wave, Santa enveloped the community below — the thousands who breathed life into Haddon Avenue Saturday morning.