Friday, July 25, 2014
PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Christmas parade continues tradition

Parade 10 A

THE ANNUAL Hangtown Christmas Parade — A McIntire Family Tradition makes its way down Broadway and Main Street in Placerville. This year the parade in Sunday, Dec. 2 at 1 p.m. Democrat file photo by Pat Dollins

By
From page B1 | November 30, 2012 |

What: Hangtown Christmas Parade — A McIntire Family Tradition

Who: City of Placerville

Where: Broadway and Main Street in Placerville

When: Sunday, Dec. 2 at 1 p.m.

Information: 530-626-3849 or 530-642-5232

The McIntire family doesn’t have to contact Santa anymore. Santa calls them — wanting to  make sure that he and his elves put the Hangtown Christmas Parade on their calendar.

This year the parade is on Sunday, Dec. 2 and Santa is already getting ready to make his appearance as the final entry in the parade, as he has for the past 35 years.

The parade has grown from 20 to 30 entries in the 1970s to its current extravaganza of 80 to 100 entries. Floats, car clubs, fire equipment, motorcycle groups, carolers and choirs, marching bands, horses, performers, horse drawn vehicles, tractors and big rigs roll down Broadway and Main Street in Placerville to the delight of the community.

“We limit it to 100,” said Jim McIntire, 73, ” but we’ve had as many as 150.”

“It gets crazy long when it’s that big,” said Cathy McIntire Patterson, one of Jim and Betty McIntire’s four adult children and a parade organizer. “It puts life on hold in Placerville for four hours.”

McIntire, who formerly owned the Goodyear Tire dealership on Broadway, was approached by Dave “Doc” Wiser to start a Christmas parade. “I was the president of the chamber of commerce and I was involved in getting the Wagon Train parade off Highway 50 and onto Broadway and Main Street in the 1960s. Those were great parades so Davey said I should put on a Christmas parade.”

The entire McIntire family helped put on the parade from the beginning and at least 10 of them are still actively participating in the event.

 

Putting the parade together

“Our family gets together in July and brainstorms ideas for the theme,” said Patterson, “We get about a million ideas and some of them stick. A theme gives our entries ideas for their floats and boy, do we have some creative folks in our community.”

This year the theme is “Let the Bells of Freedom Ring,” and the Grand Marshal is Charles Harris, father of U.S. Army Spc. Douglas Harris, a double amputee. The family lives in Somerset.

Harris is representing his son, who has to return to Bethesda Naval Hospital before the parade. The vehicle carrying the Grand Marshal in the parade will be driven by family friends Don and Brenda Morgan. At Spc. Harris’ request, it will carry a banner bearing the names of the five El Dorado County soldiers who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“Doug wants to make sure they are recognized and honored for their contributions,” said Lisa Harris, Harris’ mother.

Once the theme has been chosen, application forms are put together. This year, for the first time the city of Placerville is the sponsor of the parade accepting the applications.

“When we first started,” said Patterson, “we mailed application forms to every organization in the area we could think of, hand-addressing every envelope. Now people search us out to enter, starting in June.”

In August, a parade committee consisting of the McIntires, parade marshal J. Stirling, Jill Baker and representatives from the police department and city staff begin monthly meetings to organize the event.

Stirling, who has been the parade marshal for the entire 35 years, sorts the application entries into categories, giving each one a number and a place in the lineup and making sure the lineup is both safe and entertaining. Jill Baker prepares the lists for the announcer and the judges.

“We don’t have any big rules, except that no one can represent Santa on their entry. No blow up Santas, no Santa hats, no one dressed up like Santa on the floats,” said Patterson.

“There’s only one Santa in the world,” said McIntire, “and we don’t want to confuse the kids.”

Santa has the place of honor at the very end of the parade so that children have the fun of anticipating his arrival.

On the day of the parade, volunteers spread out at the three main staging areas, organizing the horses and animals at Schnell School, the band, carolers and marching units in the Mountain Democrat parking lot, and the cars, floats, big rigs and miscellaneous vehicles in the Grocery Outlet parking lot.

“It’s like a controlled crash landing,” said Patterson.

“The first years we enlisted help from the Wagon Train association,” said McIntire. “Now we get help from lots of people.”

The parade always begins with an honor guard — often members of the El Dorado Fire Protection District, the Hangtown Detachment of the Marine Corps or other branches of the military services. It always ends with Santa, followed by the police … and the pooper-scoopers.

“I can’t tell you how many years my kids had to be the pooper-scoopers,” said Patterson.

“Now no one in the family will volunteer to do it,” said McIntire.

 

Rain or shine

The parade happens rain or shine. At the start of one of the Christmas parades in the early years, it began to rain.

“Some of the guys were coming up to J. Stirling, asking if we should cancel the parade,” said Patterson. “He looked over the entries all gathered in one location and saw this little girl. She was dressed in a beautiful riding outfit complete with fancy hat and riding skirt and she was in a carriage, ready to go. When he saw the determination on her face, he said, ‘We’re going, rain or shine.’”

Through El Nino years when the dancers in skimpy costumes performed through driving rain that blew in sideways, the parade has continued. “Sometimes the weather has shortened the parade as some entries don’t participate,” said McIntire, “but even if we only have three entries, we have the parade.”

 

Focus and surprises

“The parade is our gift back to the community,” said Patterson.

The focus of the parade is not only to bring joy to the children of the community through its festivity, but also to support the Marine Corps “Toys for Tots” program. ”

“When my sister, Sharon, joined the Marines, Toys for Tots was their program, so our Goodyear store supported it,” said Patterson, “When the national Goodyear corporation heard about what this little store in Placerville was doing, they adopted it as their national charity, too.”

The entry fee has always been unwrapped new presents for children. “The Toys on Rocks’ Car Club has about 20 to 30 Toyotas in the parade and each one of them brings a brand-new bicycle,” said Patterson. “They drop them off at the Belltower for the Marines to pick up.”

There have been surprises during the parade, like the year KCRA meteorologist Mark Finan was Grand Marshal of the parade.

“Joe Vicini drove the royal court in his calliope. When the calliope stopped near the Belltower, a young man ran out from the crowd and used the announcer’s microphone to ask the queen to marry him,” said Patterson. “That was pretty special.”

She said, “Yes.”

The three judges, Mimi Escabar, Doug Noble and Bob Billingsley have been judging the entries and awarding first and second place trophies for many years. Escabar has judged every year for 35 years.

“It’s one of my favorite events,” said Escabar. ” I really look forward to it.”

This year’s parade is on Sunday, Dec.2 , beginning at 1 p.m. It moves down Broadway to Main Street in Placerville. Spectators are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped Christmas gift for a child and drop it off at the Belltower before or after the parade, or at Toys for Tots barrels around town. Please do not try to drop off gifts at the Belltower during the parade.

For more information about the parade call 530-626-3849 or 530-642-5232.

Contact Wendy Schultz at 530 344-5069 or wschultz@mtdemocrat.net. Follow @wschultzMtDemo on Twitter.

Comments

comments

.

News

District 2: Candidates debate jobs versus lifestyle

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Accident: 1 bullet hits 2

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

 
 
Scaffolding issue makes for contentious meeting

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Help available for breastfeeding mothers

By Health and Human Services Agency | From Page: A3

 
El Dorado County School Board vacancy

By El Dorado County Office of Education | From Page: A8

 
.

Opinion

The weekly Daley: A good time to be there…

By Chris Daley | From Page: A4

 
Something to think about: More than what you see

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: A4

Popular science

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

 
.

Letters

Watch whom you’re calling ‘conservative’

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

 
Fake ‘small farms’ steal from residential EID customers

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

People of Placerville

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Computer scam phone calls

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Support of Director Prada

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

 
Uphold the Third Amendment

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Bureaucracy

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 1 Comment

 
Imagination Theater’s play

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

.

Sports

Quarter century later, Rypien wins ACCG again

By Andrew Hazard | From Page: A6 | Gallery

 
Outside with Charlie: Paddle time

By Charlie Ferris | From Page: A6

Midget Lites join tomorrow’s action

By Bill Sullivan | From Page: A6

 
El Dorado rallies for last-inning victory

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6

Sports Scene: July 24, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

 
Rush sit a win from Series

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A7

Tasmanian Devils go undefeated

By Patty Pope | From Page: A7

 
.

Prospecting

El Dorado wines win in Amador

By Democrat Staff | From Page: B1

 
Suds entice the taste buds

By Krysten Kellum | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Things to do: July 25, 2014

By Democrat Calendar | From Page: B2

 
Rhythm and Views goes bluesy

By | From Page: B3

Have an Hawaiian vacation at Carson Road wineries

By Carson Road Winery Asociation | From Page: B3Comments are off for this post | Gallery

 
Summer fun is happening in Twain Harte

By Fire On | From Page: B4Comments are off for this post

Manzanita doubles the music

By Table Nectar And Manzanita | From Page: B5

 
Recording artist at Busby Cellars

By News Release | From Page: B6

Hands4Hope hosts school supply drive

By News Release | From Page: B6

 
Supergroup plays Harris Center

By Carrera Productions | From Page: B6

Artists invited to go western

By Art On The Divide | From Page: B7

 
Visit Tahoe artists during tour

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: B7

Reggae on the River celebrates 30 years

By Reggae On | From Page: B7Comments are off for this post

 
.

Essentials

Building permits 7/7-11/2014

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

 
Lake levels 7-24-14

By Michael Raffety | From Page: A2

Crime Log: July 11-13

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2

 
.

Obituaries

Wallace Murrel Thomas

By Contributor | From Page: A2

 
.

Real Estate

How to have a garden party, minus the whining

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS3

 
Most common mistakes homebuyers make

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4

.

Comics

Working It Out

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
Shoe

By Contributor | From Page: A9

Sudoku

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
Rubes

By Contributor | From Page: A9

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A9

Tundra

By Contributor | From Page: A9

 
Horoscope, Saturday, July 26, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Horoscope, Friday, July 25, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A10

Horoscope, Sunday, July 27, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A10

 
.

Home Source

How to have a garden party, minus the whining

By Marni Jameson | From Page: HS3

Most common mistakes homebuyers make

By Ken Calhoon | From Page: HS4