Entire towns throw parties. People line the streets to watch matching bands and floats. Groups walk and hold enormous balloons. We call these celebrations parades. Sometimes, parades become so huge that they are shown on television. One of the most popular parades each year is the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade in New York. It started in 1924, which makes it one of the oldest Thanksgiving parades in the United States. Is its especially famous for the large helium-filled balloons, featuring popular cartoons like Snoopy and Mickey Mouse.

Closer to home here in Swansea, the weather was perfect for the 2nd Annual Swansea Fire Department Lighted Christmas Parade. Following the parade, first responders hosted photos with Santa, games and refreshments at the firehouse.

During the first parade, there were more folks of all ages at the Fire House Party than ever before in history.

This year, more than 50 lighted floats from a cement truck to our own Cambridge House bus were lit up with bright decorations. Our residents donned headbands with light-up bulbs, blinking necklaces and funky Santa hats. As we drove the bus and tossed candy throughout the neighborhood, the crowds  cheered and clapped. Many of our neighbors camped out at the end of their driveways with fire pits and cameras.

A touching part of this year’s parade was a memorial for Swansea Firefighter Brett Korves, who tragically lost his life in a car accident. Donations were collected in his honor for the St. Louis Crisis Nursery. We knew Brett, a 10-year veteran on the Swansea Fire Department. We were always impressed by his good nature and commitment to serving as a first responder.

This holiday season, we thank our fire department and truly believe everyone loves a parade.