NEWTOWN >> Smiles, laughter and excitement were everywhere Sunday afternoon as the McCaffrey's Christmas Parade spread music and joy from one end of Newtown to the other.
Organized by the Newtown Business Association, the parade had all the trimmings of the season from dancing trees and candy canes to Santa and Mrs. Claus who traveled from the North Pole for the parade.
"Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas," said Santa from his seat of honor aboard an antique Newtown fire engine as it rolled down State Street. "What a great turnout of people," he said as he waved to the thousands of people lining the parade route from the Stocking Works, through the historic State Street business district and along Sycamore Street. "It warms my heart to see so many people and the holiday spirit alive and well in Bucks County."
District Judge Mick Petrucci and Newtown Borough tax collector Judy Musto provided a running commentary of the parade from their balcony seats overlooking Sycamore Street at Goodnoe Corners. It was the place to be as performers turned the street into a stage entertaining the crowds with dancing, twirling flags and music.
Escorted by Newtown Township Police Chief Rick Pasqualini and Newtown Borough Chief Tony Wojciechowski, the parade stepped off with an American Legion color guard from Newtown Post 440.
Musket fire filled the air as the 1st Crossing Volunteers, an 18th century re-enactment group from Crossing Community Church, brought back the days of the American Revolution.
The Newtown Democrats, fresh from their Election Day victories and prepared to lead local municipal government into 2018, led a contingent of local and county politicians. They were followed by Newtown Borough Mayor Charles Swartz, who tipped his black top hat to the crowds. Also joining the parade were U.S. Congressman Brian Fitzpatrick and State Rep. Perry Warren.
The Newtown Theatre rolled by with a holiday movie set and the Smile Shop of Newtown celebrated the Island of Misfit Toys.
The Saint Andrew CYO cheerleaders brought blue and white school spirit to the street with pom-poms and cheers while Pickering Manor showcased this year's car, a 2018 Mercedes-Benz GLA 250 4MATIC (MSRP $36,395), that could be yours if you win the manor's big car raffle.
The parade also featured Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, the Club House, Hands Holding Hearts, the Corner Bakery Cafe, the newly-opened Nothing Bundt Cake, Rick Steele's Service Station, the Fun Center of Bensalem and the Weed Man.
Adding marching music to the parade route and drawing lots of applause were the Council Rock High School North and South Marching Bands. And the Quaker City String Band, the Uptown String Band and the Aqua String Band brought the Philly Mummers sound to the parade.
Adding to the fun were members of the Pennsylvania School of the Performing Arts and the Dance Academy with its tribute to Holiday Movie Classics.
A Better Way Belgians and Hutch Hamilton of Wrightstown made the journey through town. So did the Newtown Athletic Club and the Newtown Lions Club.
The Goodnoe Girls on the Run, dressed as pink unicorns, marched by waving to the crowd. GOTR is an after school program that encourages preteen girls to develop self-respect and positive, healthy lifestyles through running.
The First National Bank of Newtown featured a snow-covered float with a gingerbread house and a replica of the bank's iconic click. The parade also featured Dogs and Cats Rule, therapy dogs and their owners, Action Karate, Newtown Rock, East Coast Detailing, Inspire, the Yardley Chinese School and the Newtown American Legion Baseball PA State Jr. Prep Champs.
The parade capped a weekend of holiday fun in Newtown that opened with the town's tree lighting on Friday night and continued on Saturday with the Newtown Holiday House Tour and the Newtown Presbyterian Church's annual chili luncheon, which drew a sizable crowd.
Looking ahead, a Holiday Gift Sale will be held Wednesday, Dec. 6 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Wright Meeting Hall at Chandler Hall, 99 Barclay Street, Newtown (off Sycamore Street). Gift and household items, holiday items and crafts, baked goods. Funds raised are for Benevolent Care of the residents of Chandler Hall. For information, email email@example.com
Midnight Madness will take hold from 6 to 12 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 8 in the State Street business district. Businesses will offer sales and special surprises. Check with your favorite merchant to see what they’re offering or visit the Newtown Mercantile Facebook Page. A Holiday Gift Give-Away also begins on Dec. 8. Pick up entry forms at participating merchants.
On Saturday, Dec. 9 from 1 to 3 p.m. Santa will be at his new House in front of Alternate Dimension Toys at 16 South State Street. A professional photographer will be available (if desired), there will be face painting and carolers. And Santa will be back on Dec. 10, 16 and 17 from 1 to 3 p.m. to greet youngsters. Midnight Madness and Santa’s House are presented by the Newtown Mercantile Group.
December 9 also brings Breakfast with Santa to the Temperance House with seatings at 9:30 and 11 a.m. Entertainment will be provided by Courtney’s Carolers sponsored by Action Karate at 9:30 with a performance by the Newtown Arts Company at 11. The event is presented by the Newtown Business Association.
The cost is $19.95 for adults, $14.95 for children ages three and up and free to children under three. Tax and gratuity is included. Five dollars from each registration will be donated to Bucks County Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Registration and payment online at www.NewtownBA.org.
And later in December, the Newtown Theatre will be offering everyone a break from the hustle and bustle when it presents An Acoustic Christmas with Chris Huff, Meg Russell, Matt Dorsey and Brianna Nelson on Sunday, Dec. 17 beginning at 7 p.m. The cost of the event featuring unplugged versions of your favorite Christmas songs is $5 at the door and includes FREE cookies and hot cocoa.
The Santa House and Tree Lighting are organized by the Newtown Mercantile Group and the Newtown Fire Association. The House Tour is presented by the Newtown Historic Association. The parade and Breakfast with Santa is organized by the Newtown Business Association and the chili luncheon is served by the Newtown Presbyterian Church.