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Ho ho ho! Santa Claus parade sweeps through Hamburg

IT’S THE LITTLE SAINT NICK — Santa Claus greeted young and old alike, during the Santa Claus Parade held in Hamburg. Photos by Jeffrey Barnes.
HAMBURG — This year’s Hamburgh Holiday’s Santa Claus Parade theme was “welcome neighbors,” an invitation to surrounding communities to participate in Hamburg’s holiday observation. The moniker was a variation on the town’s motto, “The town that friendship built.”

This year’s parade, held on Nov. 30, featured floats and marchers, music, dancers and bands. Parade-goers could also spot horses, puppies, llamas and boys and girls of all ages, representing groups from 4-H, martial arts, soccer, hockey and Scouting.

Although the weather was cold, the parade route was sunny and cleared of snow for the marchers on foot and riders on horseback.

The participants assembled at the Union Pleasant Elementary School and marched down Main and Buffalo streets, to their final destination in the Hamburg Village Square.

SERVING — Pictured are members of the Hamburg Volunteer Fire Department color guard.
Judging stands were set up on Buffalo Street. Leading the parade were members of the Saints Peter & Paul Church youth group. The church was founded in Hamburg in 1944 and has been at its current location on Main Street since 1911. The Hamburg Volunteer Fire Department color guard followed, bearing the banners of the United States, New York state and the town and village of Hamburg.

Tall horses, adorned with sheriff’s department blankets, carried the mounted division of the Erie County Sheriff’s Department throughout the parade.

Local officials who braved the cold included Hamburg Town Supervisor Steven Walters; Hamburg Town Clerk Cathy Rybczynski; Hamburg Village Mayor Thomas Moses; Hamburg village trustees Tom Tallman, Mark Colmerauer, Paul Gaughan and Laura Hackathorn and Erie County Legislator Lynne Dixon.

JINGLE BELLS — Musicians from the Hamburg High School bands organization turned out, en masse.
Approximately 200 musicians represented the Hamburg High School Marching Band, which has made previous appearances in Washington, D.C., New York City, Walt Disney World and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

Hamburg’s modified, junior varsity and varsity cheerleading squads demonstrated their school spirit, as they entertained onlookers with their routines.

Adoptable dogs and puppies from the HEART Animal Rescue And Adoption team, which has been serving Western New York since 1984, also joined the parade. Visit the organization’s adoption center, located at 48 Buffalo St., or check out

Hamburg Hawks Hockey Association participants, decked out in hockey attire, many wearing street hockey skates or in-line skates, represented their organization, which was founded in 1971. The association is made up of 800 players.

Cub Scout Pack 509 was out in force, aboard the float “A Christmas Story.” The Friendly 4-Hrs, a group of 9-year-old members of the Hamburg 4-H, were also in attendance.

The Cairde Band played a blend of Irish and Scottish traditional and contemporary tunes, as well as varied American folk music.

The street was filled with ninjas and dragons, as the United World Martial Arts studio of Hamburg took the spotlight, with its “Little Ninjas” and “Lil’ Dragons” participants.

Girl Scouts from Troop 1937, known as the “Gingerbread Girls,” as well as Daisy Troop 31395, were dressed as snowflakes. Cadette Troop 30884, a troop of sixth grade Scouts from the Hamburg Middle School, were dressed as Girl Scout Cookies.

Daisy Troop 30061, from Pinehurst and Cloverbank elementary schools, joined Junior Troop 30626 and Brownie Troop 30083.

Sister Girl Scout troops 30398 and 31173 made their fifth appearance in the Santa Claus Parade. Girl Scout Troop 30036 represented the Daisy Girl Scouts from the Treemor-Frontier Service Unit from Frontier Central Schools.

Brownie Troop 30254 was dressed up as Santa’s cookies and milk. Girls from Troop 31428, a Creekside Service Unit, were dressed as snow globes. Troop 31428 was made up of fifth graders from Union Pleasant and Charlotte Avenue elementary schools.

Brownie Troop 30190 and Junior Girl Scout Troop 30159 came from the Creekside Service Unit, and Girl Scout Troop 30152 just earned the Girl Scout Junior Bronze Award.

Girl Scouts from Troop 1952 were dressed as Christmas presents. Daisy Troop 30927 is made up of 7-year-olds.

TAP YOUR FEET — Pictured are members of the Performing Arts organization of Hamburg.
Groups of dancers from the Performing Arts Dance Academy took center stage, during the parade.

Hamburg’s Rotary Club paraded to support the Hamburgh Holidays. A bunny, riding in the rotary’s car, reminded attendees that the rotary oversees breakfast with the bunny and the Warm the Children programs.

The Southtowns Cadet Squadron, a unit of the Civil Air Patrol, is an official auxiliary of the United States Air Force. The local organization celebrated its 72nd anniversary this year. This group is a civilian organization that trains members in emergency service and search and rescue, both on the ground and in the air. Civil Air Patrol is open to boys and girls ages 12 – 18 and senior members who are 21 and older.

From the town of Lancaster came the Renegade Drum Corps, one of the few remaining groups in the area.

Approximately 1,800 soccer players participate in the Hamburg Monarchs Soccer Club. Many of them, decked out in their team regalia, marched to represent the local soccer program.

The Penn Dixie Paleontological & Outdoor Education Center was on display; its marchers handed out fossils from the 54-acre outdoor educational center.

The Strawberry Hill Hummers 4-H Llama Club strutted its charges down the parade route; the club cares for, grooms and shows llamas. It has won awards at the Erie County Fair, the New York State Fair and the Eastern Regional Llama Show.

The Gyddy-Up Club of Eden, a horse camp for boys and girls, cantered and pranced its way along the parade route. On display were the club mascot, Scooby-Doo, as well as a pair of rare Freeshum horses from the Netherlands. The club’s members dedicated their ride in memory of Kathy Lee Tyrrell.

Also known as Pere Noel, Father Christmas or Kris Kringle, Santa Claus made his appearance in a locally hand-crafted sleigh, guided by his “elves” (Girl Scouts from Cadette Troop 667).

HO HO — A small parade-goer gets a big hug from Santa Claus, during the parade in Hamburg.
Santa walked part of the route, greeting the spectators and sharing high-fives with boys and girls. His sleigh proceeded to the Hamburg Village Square and joined his workshop, which is now set up for visits with Santa.

WE NEED A LITTLE CHRISTMAS — Pictured are kids and organizers from the Hamburg Nursery School.
Other parade entrants included the Kenneth Henry Farm, Clyde’s Feed and Animal Center, the Hamburg Public Library, Friends of Lake Erie Seaway Trail, Lind-Hart Mini Ship, Smarty Pants Childcare, Brierwood Training Center, the Hamburg Village Business Advisory Council, KK Lawnscape & Donaldson/Fink families of Lake View, Saint James United Church of Christ Youth Group, Hamburg Nursery School, Winning Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, A Leap in Learning Early Childhood Education Center and also the Southtowns Builders Association.

The parade judges were Mark Mika, Kyle Bridgeman and Miki Wheeler. The judges awards for best entries went to A Leap in Learning Early Childhood Center (spirit of the parade), Junior Girl Scouts Troop No. 31428 (second place) and Brierwood Training Center (best business float). Honorable mentions were given to Performing Arts Dance Academy and the Ken Henry Farms.

The parade was coordinated by Eileen Hotho, Katie Mika and Greg Salerno. The Hamburgh Holidays Parade Committee was made up of Garry Nelson, Gay Lynn Nelson and Sandy and Dave Hustead. Hamburgh Holidays is chaired by Chris Snyder and Paul Gaughan.


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