I've just encountered the tradition bearers for these expressions of holiday cheer and hope to be able to undertake a full study of Catskills holiday traditions and/or a study of Catskills parades in the future. But I just couldn't wait to share my somewhat fuzzy photos of the parade and a picture of greens decorating one of the floats.
Here are the greens decorating the float.
This float maker also produces wreaths from greens such as these.
And here are links to some videos of the lighted floats in the Downsville Christmas parade which took place just this past Saturday, December 10.
This is Butch's Garage's Float "The Grinch That Went Overboard",
winner of the Christmas Theme First Prize
This is the Gardner Family's Float that won First Prize for Christmas Spirit
This is the Downsville Ambulance, followed by a fire truck, all decked out for the parade.
Some floats featured music, such as this one from the Delaware County Fair,
playing the Santa Claus Boogie.
After the parade the many prizes were given by Bill Reichert, parade chair, and Stacy Matteson, parade co-chair, assisted by Grand Marshals Sarah Hood and Kathryn Matteson. Then amidst festive and colorful cookies and hot chocolate, Santa appeared to visit with the youngsters, some of whom who were sleepy from the cold.
Many community people and organizations contributed time, effort and prize money to the parade, including Amanda Reichert, who did all the printing, David Jay Doig and Kevin Doig, brothers who lined up the floats at each end of the parade, the community and student chorus who sang carols as the parade lined up, the Victoria Rose that provided sheltered space for the judges and announcer, and the Downsville Fire Department, who combined their annual visit by Santa with the culmination of the parade in its award ceremony. This is such a strong community event, I'm sure I've neglected to mention other parade volunteers who make the Downsville parade possible.
Don't miss this parade next year. I'll be there with a better camera and hopefully will be planning a project for 2018 to document both of these Catskills traditions. Meanwhile, join me on Tuesday at 7 pm on WIOX to hear about these exciting folk expressions. And don't forget the final square dance of the year, this Saturday (see below). - Ginny Scheer, Folklorist