Merrimack holiday parade marches on despite cold

MERRIMACK – Bitter cold temperatures and warm spirits marked the town’s annual holiday parade and tree lighting on Sunday.

Every part of the holiday celebration happens outdoors, so people bundled up for the parade, which marched from the Merrimack Commons Shopping Plaza to Abbie Griffin Park. There, Santa lit the tree and the Belinda Bridgeman dancers and the Merrimack High School marching band entertained.

The event, a joint effort of the Parks and Recreation Department and the Chamber of Commerce, attracted about 400 people at the tree lighting, estimated Matt Casparius, the Parks and Recreation director.

At one point, “I looked at my phone and it was 19 degrees with the wind chill,” he said. But, “It was a good event overall.”

Casparius, who has had the job for less than a year, said the holiday celebration has probably been going on for at least 20 years.

The cold didn’t stop Jessie Dumais, her husband, Normand, and their granddaughter, Arianna Dumais, 2. Jessie and Normand Dumais recently moved here from Pawtucket, R.I., they said as they walked through the parking lot to the main parade route. This was their first Merrimack parade.

Jessica Duval and her three children sat on the sidewalk waiting for the parade. She said she was very cold, but happy to be there just the same.