2021 Fairfield Harbour Christmas Parade - And a good time was had by all!
Thank you to all the parade participants, committee, and all who make the parade a success! Enjoy these photos.
See you next year!
Photos by Deb Rothengast
December 5 was an unseasonably warm winter day in Fairfield Harbour and the perfect day for the annual Christmas parade. Everyone was thrilled to be out for the afternoon, especially since the parade did not happen last year due to Covid 19. This was the 25th anniversary of the parade which allowed the community to come together and celebrate the spirit of the season. As parade chair Gayle Albertini said, “Everyone loves a parade,” and that was evidenced by the crowd which lined the parade route as well as those who participated. The first years of the were sponsored by the POA, but in 2014 the Cooperative Business Council of Fairfield Harbour (CBCFH) decided to help co-sponsor the parade and brought manpower, organizational, graphic and communication skills.
Everyone who has participated in a parade knows there is so much hard work that goes on behind the scenes before the actual production takes place including band practice to decorating trucks, car, golf carts, building floats, and even putting a kayak on top of a golf cart. In addition to chair Gayle Albertini, the hardworking committee this year included Ellen McElree, Leigh Pfefferkorn, Benny Thompson, Deb Lutz, Jennifer Gudaitis, Will Caudle, and Susanne Pendleton. They started planning back in October to allow residents enough time to develop their themes, encourage participation, decorate floats and golf carts and be ready for the big day. The committee does the logistical work of making sure everyone knows where to be at the right time and in the right space including maps so everything can happen smoothly. Food is also a big part of the parade planning and all the different clubs participate. The Saturday before the parade the committee is busy decorating Red Sail Park for the post-parade reception, making sure cars have the necessary banners, have maps in order, and having serious consultations with the weatherman.
This year there were 37 entries with an estimate of over 400 people marching, (not including the West Craven Marching Band), riding golf carts, bicycles, scooters, and floats. Hours of effort by participants were devoted to come up with clever themes and design beautiful floats and golf carts. Extra security and safety measures were evident this year when Deputy Bailey Freas from the Craven County Sheriff’s Department led the parade to assure the streets were cleared of pedestrians and the route was safe. The route was from the Cart Barn to Red Sail Park and was led by the Coast Guard Color Guard and Auxiliary followed by the West Craven Marching Eagles Band, the Grand Marshalls (Dan Argentieri and Pam Gaskill) and County Commissioner Tom Mark. After that the co-sponsors, FHPOA and CBCFH headed in cars and were followed by the various clubs and individuals in all forms of transportation waving, smiling, and throwing candy. St. Nicholas, played by Sam Curry rode in style and the Tri-Community Volunteer Fire Department brought up the rear with multiple fire trucks honking in high style. In closing the security and safety aspect of the parade, Major David McFadyen, with Craven County Sheriff Department, followed the Fire Department to secure the parade’s end.
Fairfield residents who were watching the parade all say it was the best ever. Charlotte Morris especially enjoyed the girls dance troop Dazzling Dancers. Kay Wertz-Massetti has been watching the parade for twenty years and loved seeing the marching band from West Craven High School and partaking in the “handouts” for little kids, big kids, and dogs. Many others help make this parade memorable and it really is a team effort. Al Asheuer videotaped the parade and uploaded it to the Fairfield Harbour You Tube, Bob Register taped it and will broadcast it on Channel 10, Deb Rothengast was the official parade photographer. Emcees for the parade were John Rothengast and Marty Rosen representing the POA. The always welcome Porta-Potty was provided by Kevin Griffin with Storm Guard. Ramping up security was a priority this year as well as improving traffic flow. Benny Thompson, Christmas Parade Security Chair, worked with Jim Spatharos, the POA Security Committee and the Fire Department. Will Caudle’s team helped all this happen with timely road closures, orange cone placement and other measures to assure safety for the community. Special thanks to Jody Fortuna and Ken Lacey at the parade line-up, your help was so much appreciated! And many thanks to Elaine Steinbeck for her help at Red Sail serving the delicious cookie donated by groups in the Harbour.
The Fairfield Harbour Christmas Parade started in 1995 and is always a highlight of the year allowing neighbors to watch from the sidelines or participate in the parade. Although no actual data are available, rumor has it that more residents participate in the parade than watch. Childen of all ages who live in the Harbour as well as visiting grandchildren love the parade for its entertaining floats, bands and fire trucks and of course the candy. Congratulations to all involved on another great event to start off the holiday season.
Written by Elaine Berberich in collaboration with Gayle Albertini