Coatesville Christmas parade — bigger and better than ever — Dec. 2

Mummers and hundreds of other musicians are just a small part of the Coatesville Christmas parade, schedule for Dec. 2.

COATESVILLE — Once again this year, Chester County’s largest hometown parade, down the historic Lincoln Highway, takes place on Dec. 2, 2017.  The Coatesville Christmas Parade, a holiday classic, begins at 10:00 a.m. starting at Strode Avenue and Lincoln Highway, and ends at the performing and judging area at 11th Avenue and Lincoln Highway.

Originally a community project in the 1960s, then taken up by the Jaycees back in the 70s, the Parade lost steam in the 1980s. But, it came back with a roar in the 1990s! This year, over 125 entries will grace the Lincoln Highway from dancers swirling their batons to local contractors showing off their custom-crafted floats. The Coatesville Christmas Parade has it all.

The making of the floats is a tradition that local business people embrace as well. Mark Milanese of Milanese Remodeling recalls his days with the parade. “The Milanese family loves the Coatesville Christmas Parade. Our kids grew up with the parade being part of our family holiday tradition. Preparing the float could become a chore during an already hectic season. A lot of times the temperatures in our warehouse were well below freezing as we worked the night before the parade to transform our trucks and trailers into a float with a theme.

But, it was all worth it to see the kids — and the young at heart– smile, wave, and cheer for us as we walked from bridge to bridge on the Main Street of Coatesville! Sometimes, family members would dress in costumes of the most popular TV cartoon characters and march alongside our float to the joy of the youngsters on the sidewalk. The Milanese kids dressed as Santa’s helpers passing out candy to the spectators.  After the freezing cold walk we could count on Nonna Milanese warming us up with Italian Holiday Soup. Great memories!”

Christmas Parade president and local businessman, Sam Radziviliuk, bursts with pride over the group that pulls off this mega event. “Our committee is made up totally of volunteers, who will literally start planning the next Christmas Parade the moment this one is over. All year long they organize activities like the Golf Outing, the Jingle Bowl, the Summer Sizzle Dance Party, and other projects to help us raise money to pay for the Parade. We also receive financial support from the community, who loves this parade, and some very generous sponsors. Putting on a full scale parade isn’t inexpensive,” Sam says with a smile. But he adds, “Just look at the glowing face of any child along the route and you see why it’s worth it.”

Featured this year will be the Duffy and Quaker City String bands. Also playing will be the Eagles Pep Band, the Lukens Band, the Chester County Emerald Society Pipe Band, and the Coatesville High School “Red Raider” Marching Band. Mascots will include Reggy The Purple Party Dude, Sir Roland Brave heart, and the Two-Headed Dragon from Mascots for The Cure.

This is a tradition that the families of the Coatesville area embrace. The Parade has become a cherished memory for them. This event now reaches into the hearts and memories of Coatesvillians everywhere, as it now streams live (and able to be viewed after the run date) on CoatesvilleChristmasParade.com. This annual gathering is a free event because of the generosity of sponsors like PECO, Coatesville Savings Bank, Penn Medicine’s Chester County Hospital, the Brandywine Health Foundation, the Stewart Huston Charitable Trust, Edge Wallboard Machinery, G.A. Vietri, Inc., Courtyard by Marriott (Phila. /Exton), Wegman’s, Harry’s Hotdogs, James J. Terry Funeral Home, Inc., The City of Coatesville, 3CTVLIVE.com, Herr’s and many others.

Honored this year will be the 2017 inductees to the Coatesville High Sports Hall of Fame, and recently retired educators from the Coatesville Area School District (CASD). Look for local elementary, middle and high school groups, cub scouts, boy scouts, girl scouts and brownies. Churches participate by marching in the parade and by singing Christmas carols on Lincoln Highway prior to the start of the parade. There will also be dance academies, cheerleading groups, hip-hop dancers and baton twirlers. Not to be missed is the always–a-show-pleaser, larger-than-life cartoon characters.

An automotive competition featuring Antique, Classic and Modified autos will be competing for prizes. Another competition is for Best Appearing Fire Apparatus, with the expectation that all the local fire companies in Western Chester County will be represented. Chester County police departments will compete for Best Appearing Police Vehicle.

The competition for Best Appearing Float sponsored by a non-profit organization features prizes of $500 for first place, $300 for second place, and $200 for third place. There is also a Best Appearing Float sponsored by a for-profit organization. They compete for bragging rights and a plaque. Lastly, there will be a competition for Best Appearing Group. Note that all competitions are for 1st, 2nd and 3rd places.

Bringing up the rear of the parade will be none other than the big man himself, Santa Claus, riding on a Coatesville Fire Department truck. Admission is free.

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