QUINCY — An elf danced down the street twirling a flaming baton, while children on the sidewalk collected candy canes and broke into spontaneous dancing.
Cloudy skies following overnight rain failed to put a damper on Quincy’s 66th annual Christmas Parade.
The Weinacht family watched the festivities Sunday wearing Santa hats and Christmas sweaters.
“I’ve been coming to this parade since I was 6 years old,” said Laurie Weinacht of Randolph, who was there with her three daughters and grandchildren. “It’s about family, tradition, and Santa Claus coming to town.”
This may be the Weinacht family’s favorite time of the year. Their name is even a few letters from Weihnachten, which means Christmas or Christmas Eve in German.
“We’re a pretty big, loud, crazy-fun family,” said Stephanie Nalbandian of Mansfield, one of Weinacht’s daughters. “I have one whole side of my attic that’s just Christmas. My best friend’s husband says I have a problem.”
The parade’s theme this year was “Do you hear what I hear?” and there was plenty to hear.
A steel drum band played Caribbean rhythms, a Quincy police boat blared its horn, and Santa Claus shouted “Merry Christmas” from the back of a ladder truck. Members of Life Community Church dressed up incostumes handed out cups of hot chocolate to the crowds of bundled-up families.
“We’re making people smile, enjoying the music, and celebrating Christmas,” said Izzi McPherson, 25, of Quincy, who was dressed as a present. “Because I love Christmas.”
Dan, 32, and Annie Davis, 35, brought their two young boys to the parade, which Dan remembers fondly from his childhood.
“My grandparents used to own a store on Hancock Street. They always used to save a spot for us [to watch the parade],” he said. “I always really enjoyed the cars, seeing like the old school cars, and the fire trucks.”
Jeff Heath, 57, who grew up in Quincy, sat in a chair with his 3-year-old granddaughter, Brielle, as she played a pink toy trumpet and watched the Aleppo Shriners spin around in small vehicles.
“I was just waiting for Santa Claus,” said Heath, who has been coming to watch the parade for more than five decades.
What do they both love about the parade?
“Everything!” Heath said. “Of course we have to wait until the end. I’m glad the rain stopped.”Cristela Guerra can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @CristelaGuerra.