Holiday Tradition:Santa Parade to Start at 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve

For years Lynn residents have come to expect a parade on Christmas Eve, and there will be no disappointments when it comes to this year’s parade.

For Ward 7 Councilor Jay Walsh the parade is all about the tradition that goes back to his childhood in West Lynn. This year thousands will come out around Lynn to watch the 32nd annual Santa Parade.

The parade begins at 5 p.m. in Austin Square and ends around 10 p.m. with light refreshments at Laurie Walsh’s house.

This year two new folks will don the Mr. and Mrs. Claus suit, Scott Surette will play Santa and Michelle Robbins will be Mrs. Claus. They already had a practice run when the city of Lynn lit the official Christmas tree on the Commons. Both of them have been involved in the parade from the start. This year the role of Santa is being dedicated to Scott Brown, who played Santa for 27 years.

“This was a big thing for my friend Tom Laramie and I am playing Santa for him,” said Surette.

There will be a mix of floats including popular characters, the reindeer in flight, the sleigh and the traditional lighthouse. There will be Minions, Rudolph and more.

Doug and Darren Robbins used to attend the parade when they were young and now bring their own children.

The parade was started in 1985 by Rich Varga, who passed away six years ago, and John Walsh. They got the idea from Saugus when they heard it on the police scanner. Now there are 75 to 100 motorized vehicles in the parade.

“We like to keep the memory of our friend Richie,” said Janet Melanson who has been involved for 31 years. “He did this for the kids in the city that didn’t have much. Now it’s the people’s parade.”

The 26-mile route will showcase the Lynn Fire Department, the Lynn Police Department, the sheriff’s department and Hay Hay the Crazy Chicken.

“I like the music, the lighting and the throwing of candy,” said 12-year-old Douglas Robbins. He finds setting up the floats to be the best part of the night. The Gingerbread House is his favorite float.

Some of the parade floats also help fill in on the Christmas parades in Swampscott and Nahant.

To get updates about the parade follow the route on Facebook under “LynnMassChristmasParade.”

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