Hampton, Exeter start the season with parades, Santa

Seacoast residents will have a double dose of fun on Saturday 3 December as two local communities bring the season’s greetings to their streets with Christmas parades in Hampton at 1pm and Exeter at 5.30pm

Hampton Holiday Parade: ‘It’s just a movie’

This year’s Hampton Holiday Parade is themed “It’s Only a Movie” in honor of the late Desi Lanio, former co-owner of Route 1’s 401 Tavern.

Lanio, who died earlier this year, was known for his good work behind the scenes for many charities and causes, running countless fundraisers, helping restart the Hampton Holiday Parade and once gathering local people to buy an 18-wheel Trucks to fill with goods victims of Hurricane Harvey in Houston.

The theme of the parade is reminiscent of Lanio’s signature “Hang 10” hand sign, which he would show to anyone who took his picture, always adding that life “is just a movie.”

According to parade organizer Dean Merrill, Tracey Dewhurst, owner of the Victoria Inn on High Street and Victoria’s Kitchen on Route 1, is this year’s Grand Marshal of the parade.

“Tracey is a great pick,” Merrill said. “Tracey is a very quiet woman, but she does a lot for the community and through her help with charities. She will be hosting events at her Victoria Inn to raise funds for them. When we told her she was the Grand Marshal, she got excited.”

Bikers from the HYA cycling program went full steam ahead at the Hampton Holiday Parade.

According to Merrill, Dewhurst will be riding in a very special vehicle during the parade.

“She’ll be driving in a 1948 Pontiac convertible,” Merrill said.

The parade begins at 1:00 p.m. at the Hampton/North Hampton city line at the railroad bridge on Route 1 (Lafayette Road) and follows the roadway to end at Winnacunnet Road.

Across the route, spectators will see another guest of honor, Santa Claus, and enjoy dozens of floats, parade units and the rousing sounds of marching bands, Merrill said.

The Hampton Holiday Parade returned to downtown Hampton on Saturday, December 4, 2021.  The annual event is hosted by Experience Hampton.

“We currently have six bands confirmed and we’re waiting for two more,” Merrill said. “We have confirmed bands from Winnacunnet High School, the Boston Firemen, the Police Pipes & Drums, Spaulding High School, the University of New Hampshire Color Guard and NH Pipes and Drums.”

There is still time for organizations or groups interested in participating in the parade to register, Merrill said. Simply go to https://www.experiencehampton.org/, click on Holiday Parade at the top, then scroll down to click on the application form.