Monday, July 21, 2014

Mountain Democrat to continue McIntire Family tradition

DSC_5965 ec

SANTA CLAUS goes over route plans for this year's Christmas Parade with Cathy McIntire Patterson, left, representing the Hangtown Chirstmas Parade's founding family, and Richard Esposito of the Mountain Democrat Newspaper, center, the parade's new sponsor. Democrat photo by Krysten Kellum

From page A1 | October 11, 2013 |

Disappointed that last year’s Christmas Parade was cancelled due to a downpour, a committee of local residents, with the Mountain Democrat taking the lead, have promised that this year’s parade will take place.

Last year’s parade was cancelled after the city of Placerville decided inclement weather made it too hazardous to proceed.

But that decision was roundly criticized by those who spent hundreds of hours organizing and preparing for the parade and who braved rain, wind, snow and sleet in years prior.

Also upset were the Toys for Tots volunteers who rely on the parade to supply a large portion of the toys they give to children at Christmas. Luckily, they were able to largely recoup their losses by collecting gifts the following weekend at the Belltower.

This year, supporters were worried the parade would again be cancelled due to continuing hard feelings between the city and the McIntire family, the family that started the parade, until Richard Esposito, publisher of the Mountain Democrat, stepped in and said the newspaper would sponsor the event.

With that commitment in place and a coordinating committee comprised of Mountain Democrat personnel, City Parks and Recreation Director Steven Youel, Jill Baker, Cathy McIntire Patterson, Adam Levine, J Stirling, Norm Hammond, Placerville Police Lt. Kim Nida and Sue and Hollis Henderson with Toys for Tots, the parade was back on.

35 years and counting

A celebration of Christmas as well as a kickoff event for the Toys for Tots campaign, the Christmas parade in downtown Placerville had its start in 1977. Cathy Patterson said it was her father, Jim McIntire, who established the parade after friends suggested it to him. Being very civic-minded, he came home one day and said to his family, “this is what we’re doing.”

There were only about 10 entries the first couple of years, but since then it’s grown and grown and become a tradition, said Patterson. There have only been five or six years when the weather was really bad, but nonetheless the parade took place, at least until last year.

The story of how the parade got its reputation for being held rain or shine dates from an event that happened five or six years after it started, according to J Stirling, who’s been marshaling the parade since it began.

It was a particularly miserable day for the parade, he said, with lots of rain and sleet. The decision was made not to hold the parade, with those in charge adjourning to the Cary House.

Stirling said he and his fellow marshal Skip Gilmore were walking up and down the staging area when they spotted a little girl, 8 or 9 years old, in a buggy with her pony. She had taken protection under an overhang and was dressed to the nine’s in her velvet dress. She was miserable and cold but she was ready.

“I told Skip, I’m not telling her we’re not having a parade after she’s been up since 3 or 4 a.m. getting herself and her pony ready. Skip didn’t want to have to tell her either. So we lined everyone up and sent the parade downtown,” Stirling said.

Later someone went to the Cary House and said to the folks in charge, “Nice parade.” They said, “What parade?”

“After that, rain or shine became our motto,” said Stirling. “We have done it in rain, snow, hell or high water. We were all very disappointed when it was called off last year because of the rain downtown, but that was the city’s call. It broke quite a few peoples’ hearts. But I’m glad to see the Mountain Democrat stepped up to make sure the show goes on.”
The parade means a lot to people,” said Esposito.

“When I heard that it might not take place without our involvement, and the possibility of losing this wonderful El Dorado County tradition, I felt it deserved to continue on. The newspaper was in an ideal position to take it on as we have people who have been involved with the parade since its inception. They have a real good understanding of the inner workings of what it takes to put the parade on,” he said.

Capturing the spirit of Christmas

“We will hold true to what folks did in prior years,” he said, “but with better staging.”

Broadway Plaza has been designated as a new staging area, replacing the Mountain Democrat parking lot, now leased to Tractor Supply Co.

“We would also like to include some marching bands but we don’t know if that will happen since school will be out of session and the parade falls on the Thanksgiving weekend.

“One of the most exciting parts of this year’s parade, will be a tribute to Jim McIntire, who will be the grand marshal. Since the beginning he has helped select the grand marshal but never held the honor.

“It was sure a feat for someone like Jim to take on this parade year in and year out, to organize it and get it done every year for the kids,” Esposito said.

“However the main focus will be on the parade as a way to provide Christmas toys for children and Christmas spirit for the community,” said Esposito.

“What we hope we can capture is the true spirit of what this parade is all about. It’s about the children. Children who are disadvantaged and don’t get to celebrate Christmas like other kids. Even with the parade called off last year, they were still able to collect a lot of toys and some cash to buy toys. And that was awesome. People came out and rallied around the kids and that’s what it’s all about,” he said.

The parade will be held Sunday, Dec. 1 at 1 p.m., along Broadway and Main Street in downtown Placerville. Esposito said it will be held rain or shine, but if an earthquake happens and all the buildings fall into the street, well, that may be another matter.

People can pick up an application to be in the parade at the offices of the Mountain Democrat, 2889 Ray Lawyer Drive, or the El Dorado County Chamber of Commerce, 542 Main Street. Applications can also be downloaded from their respective Websites. Completed applications can be turned in at both locations as well as the city of Placerville Parks and Recreation Department, 549 Main Street. There is no cost for being in the parade other than an unwrapped toy for a boy or girl.

For additional information, call the parade hotline at 530-344-5088.

So put that date on your calendar now because rain or shine, the parade is on!

Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.





IRS unveils Taxpayer Bill of Rights

By News Release | From Page: B1

Highway 50 collision fatal

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A1

Stay connected through sheriff

By El Dorado County Sheriff's Office | From Page: B1

EDH community unites to patch up historic barn

By Mike Roberts | From Page: A1 | Gallery

P’ville hires Camino superintendent

By News Release | From Page: B1

Bird tests positive for West Nile

By Ross Branch | From Page: A1

Heard over the back fence: Public swim times announced

By Bob Billingsley | From Page: B1

County gets partial refund on promotional event

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A3

Jeepers expo Wednesday in Georgetown

By Dawn Hodson | From Page: A3

Help SWR with squirrel babies

By Sierra Wildlife Rescue | From Page: A9



The rural life: Save the day: Neuter and spay

By Jennifer Forsberg Meyer | From Page: A4

Different place, different priorities

By Mountain Democrat | From Page: A4

California rambling: Giving cities a pass

By John Poimiroo | From Page: A4 | Gallery



A thank you note

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

Prada belongs in Berkeley

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Ready for Hillary?

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5, 2 Comments


By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5

Diamond Springs Firefighters Union is corrupt

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

100+ years and thanks

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A5



Valley View Sports Park

By Julie Samrick | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Under the Scoreboard: July 20, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Schedule: July 21-26

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Becker slips by in wild KWS finish

By Gary Thomas | From Page: A6

Sports Scene: July 20, 2014

By Jerry Heinzer | From Page: A6

Roundup: July 20, 2014

By Democrat Staff | From Page: A6

Season over for Post 119

By Mike Bush | From Page: A6 | Gallery

Sophia Barden wins strut title

By Special to the Democrat | From Page: A7



How to safely help a horse

By Wendy Schultz | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Railroad Museum offers a fun ‘History Happy Hour’

By California State Railroad Museum | From Page: B4

As we were: Money for home repairs

By Ken Deibert | From Page: B4

Marshall Medical Center to host day of fitness and fun

By Marshall Medical | From Page: B10

Kids parade for free admission to the fair

By Amador County Fair | From Page: B10

Volunteer kitchen help needed in EDH

By Health and Human Services Agency | From Page: B10



Crime Log: July 6-8

By Cole Mayer | From Page: A2



Betty Ellene Hock

By Contributor | From Page: A2Comments are off for this post

Douglas J. Beam

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Arthur J. Funston

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Jerry Grant Young Jr.

By Contributor | From Page: A2

Kathryn Noreen Nolan

By Contributor | From Page: A2


Real Estate



Horoscope, Monday, July 21, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8

New York Times Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8

TV Listings

By Contributor | From Page: A8

Speed Bump

By Contributor | From Page: A8

American Profile Crossword

By Contributor | From Page: A8


By Contributor | From Page: A8

Horoscope, Tuesday, July 22, 2014

By Contributor | From Page: A8