by Sandy Wyman
The Gouverneur Chamber of Commerce was in full mode of the holiday spirit as the organization held its annual Christmas Parade on Friday, December 2.
Highlighting the festive affair was the welcoming of Santa Claus to the area amidst a huge gathering waiting for the arrival of the special visitor from the North Pole.
Although the weather was a bit on the rainy and cooler side, it did not deter what appeared to be a record crowd lining at least three deep on Main Street.
Leading into the festivities were sounds of the holiday season performed by the GHS Chamber Singers under the direction of Richard Haynes inside the gazebo that were most warmly received. The young voices in perfect harmony set the stage for the rest of the evening.
Master of Ceremonies Gale Ferguson paid close attention to the parade participants by handling the introductions with just the right pause for everyone to take in the sights and sounds associated with lights, camera and action!
Leading the community into the holiday season parade were representatives from law enforcement including the Gouverneur Village Police Department with Chief Laurina Greenhill. Following in the line of marchers was the NYS Police with State Trooper Peter Paquin and the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department with Deputy Ryan Bogardus.
Also on hand were members of the Safety Patrol, Kyle Elliott, Lyle Walrath and Andrew Wedlock from the Southwest Tech Criminal Justice program who were on scene to help with safety for parade participants and the public. They did an outstanding public service to the community.
Also it was mentioned by announcer Mr. Ferguson that the Village DPW workers were to be commended on the outstanding holiday display in the village park for all to enjoy during the festive season.
Officer Jesse Sheen, Officer Alex Daggett and Sgt. Gordon Ayen of the Gouverneur Village Police Department handled traffic and public safety for the larger than life crowd that were gathered for the outstanding parade and subsequent meeting with the Jolly Old Elf.
Appearing in the parade down Main Street were Gouverneur Town and Village officials who included Mayor Ron McDougall and Town Supervisor Bob Ritchie along with Deputy Mayor Charles Newvine and Deputy Town Supervisor Eldon Conklin with other staff and families joining in.
Along the parade route there was a good natured competition between the town and village of Gouverneur highway departments sporting two highly decorated trucks, one with a Santa decoration on the plow (Leroy Blair and grandsons Tryee and Kiyan) along with lots of lights and then the other (town with David Perrigo and family) complete with more lights and Tigger of the Winnie the Pooh menagerie. Such fun!
The route of floats continued with the Elks Club, Cub Scout Pack 21 (Schiszler Construction), St. James School (Bill Cryderman), Urban Home Stead with Tige the Dog and Coffee the Goat plus Santa’s Helpers, The Happy Helpers 4-H Club, Blevins Ford (Bob Gotham and Owen), New York Pizzeria (Nick Ciambra) and the K-Kids (Kiwanis Club) along with Mandigo’s Garage from West Main St..
We certainly hope that all who participated in the event have been listed although this reporter has received notice that perhaps due to weather and wind that evening that not all were noted due to index cards not readable.
Please contact this paper at 287-2100 for your recognition to be published in a newsbyte.
Then it was time for the big event of the evening…nothing like the display of lights made possible by the Gouverneur Volunteer Fire Department who take on the responsibility of delivering Santa Claus to Gouverneur complete with a siren fanfare.
From every access point of Main Street, shouts of “Hi, Santa,” could be heard ringing across both sides of the street and many in the village park, patiently waiting for a chance to sit on the lap of one of the joys of childhood…straight from the North Pole.
There was a line in the village park leading up to the gazebo and that is a small word for the wonderful amount of the public who showed up to see Santa and all that he brings to Gouverneur.
Pictures by the dozens, hugs, smiles and even a handshake or two from the younger set made for a great evening.
There were wagon rides supplied by Harold Lowery and his wonderful team of Belgians and much hot cocoa and cookies were a hit due to the membership and friends of the First United Methodist Church of Gouverneur.
The Chamber of Commerce certainly deserves a nod of appreciation for its dedication to the holiday season with a great parade topped off by you know who!
by Sandy Wyman