WALLINGFORD — This year, the town’s annual Frosty Parade was canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions on large gatherings, but with some creative thinking and collaborative work, the town pulled together the first-ever Santa Claus is Coming to Town car parade.
Put together by the Public Celebration Committee, Parks and Recreation Department, and Wallingford Center Inc, the Sunday car parade filled South Main Street with holiday music and festive decorations.
“It is beautiful. I love how everyone came together to make it work, to make it possible. It is a beautiful night for our town and families in our town,” said Public Celebrations Committee chair Roz Gallagher.
Floats and parade participants remained stationary while cars full of happy spectators drove by. That way, visitors enjoyed the displays while remaining socially distanced.
While driving through, visitors saw dancing snowmen, Captain Hook and Smith, Mary Poppins, Elza and other popular characters. Even Santa Claus made an appearance. He greeted everyone as they entered the parade, while gloved and masked elves collected letters from children.
“I don’t know what kids will want this year, but I am going to find out, that’s for sure” said Mike Mejill, who portrayed Santa Claus. “I have three grandkids, I just give them money, I don’t know what’s out there.”
Mary Ellen Kingsland-Eckels, executive director of the Wallingford Center for the Arts, said the event provided residents with some much-needed holiday cheer and a chance to reconnect with their community.
“Everybody was worried whether there will be Christmas and of course there will. It brings a lot of joy to the children. It's fun to see them say ‘There is Santa!’ It’s very cute,” said Kingsland-Eckels.
Organizers said it all came together in under three months. When it came to the big day of the parade, the team members spent over five hours putting up decorations and preparing for the audience