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Christmas parade is back

After a one-year hiatus, volunteers and donors want to start the season right

Nov. 26, 2010

Editor's note: Looking for information on the 2011 parade? Check our Things to Do column.

New Berlin — Santa Claus will be coming to town again in style.

New Berlin's traditional Christmas parade was not held last year because the New Berlin Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau could not sponsor it. But the parade is coming back Saturdaybig and strong, full of Christmas carols and even live reindeer.

John Ziino, who heads the New Berlin Fourth of July parade, stepped forward to lead a committee that has brought back the annual holiday favorite. Mayor Jack Chiovatero spearheaded formation of that committee.

It is a joy to know that the parade will be back, Ziino said, because it is a great opportunity to bring families together.

"Young children love parades and they love Santa," he said.

The Prospect Lions Club and citizens stepped forward in April to take it on. Not only did Prospect Lions volunteer to plan and raise money for the parade, but the club put its dollars behind the parade effort as a Christmas gift to the community. Ziino, a director of the Prospect Lions, said simply that the Lions wanted to support the parade because the group is family-oriented.

The committee went straight to its work to fill up sockings with donations from businesses of all sizes and from individuals. The busy Christmas elves even launched a keepsake Christmas ornament sale to help put fundraising over the top.

The ornament sale fell short of the hopes that it would raise $10,000 in its first year, Ziino said, but "It was important, every bit of money is important."

A second ornament sale for the parade is already on the committee's Christmas list.

Unexpected revenue sources

What really rang the committee's Christmas bells was a grant coming through from the city enabling the parade committee to use some hotel tax revenues. That made Holiday Inn Express and La Quinta Hotel partners in the parade.

But what touches Ziino's heart most was that children at Hoover Elementary School, 12705 W. Euclid Ave., actually raised money for the parade.

"I thought it was great that the kids thought enough of the parade coming back that they raised their own money," Ziino said.

Two parades in one year is a bit of a stretch, he acknowledged, but he said, "And somebody had to do it."

And after 41 years with New Berlin's Fourth of July parade, Ziino was the man with the know-how.

New ride for Santa

In keeping with the season, he and the elves on the committee added a dash of Christmas spice by having Santa ride into New Berlin on a brand new sleigh pulled by live reindeer. That will ring parade-goers jingle bells, Ziino predicted.

Other bright lights in the parade garland will be two new floats, the 484th U.S. Army Band, the Apple Ridge Academy float with the theme "Shrek the Halls," and an appearance by the Brew City Bruisers, a women's roller derby team. At least seven bands will add Christmas magic to the procession and the New Berlin West High School dance team will perform.

Also new this year is postal service workers accepting letters for Santa along the parade route. The letters do not need a stamped return envelope only a return address of the person sending Santa a letter. Santa loves holiday pictures, too. Grandma Claus also will collect letters after the parade at the Fire Station while Santa meets all the little ones.

To make the holidays brighter for everyone, Prospect Lions will roll grocery carts down the parade route collecting food donations for the New Berlin Food Pantry.

And this year one Christmas tree just will not do.

When the switch is thrown, all the trees at the Veterans Memorial will suddenly blaze with a Christmas glow. The intent is to honor both the season and veterans, said Jim Meidenbauer, a member of the New Berlin Lions tree lighting committee. It should be a spectacular sight, he predicted.

The New Berlin Lions also will give free candy stockings there.

Across from the Veterans Memorial, Santa, Grandma Claus and Junie the Elf will greet every little one in the Fire Station at 16300 W. National Ave.

AT A GLANCE

PARADE: starts 3 p.m. Saturday from National Avenue and Coffee Road, going west on National to Malone Park at 163rd and National Ave.; Post office Letters to Santa collection along the parade route

AFTER THE PARADE:

• tree lighting ceremony at 4 p.m., sponsored by the New Berlin Lion's Club at Veterans Memorial Park (Al Stigler Drive and National Ave.)

• meet and greet Santa, Grandma Claus and Junie the Elf at the Fire House (across from the Veterans Memorial site)

• food collection for the New Berlin Food Pantry by members of the Prospect Lions Club during and after the parade

• refreshments at the Fire Station, 16300 W. National Ave., sponsored by Boy Scout Troop 93 from Holy Apostles Church and School.

• commemorative ornament sales.

• balloon figures and face painting by the Greater Greenfield Lions clowns

KEEPSAKE ORNAMENTS

There is still time to get the first New Berlin Christmas keepsake ornament to support the parade.

WHAT: The collectible commemorative New Berlin 2010 Christmas ornament features an historic landmark - the Meidenbauer Log Cabin (circa 1848) with green Christmas wreath on the door. The rest of the art is done in silver glitter on a red bulb. Next year, another ornament featuring a recognizable city landmark will be offered as the second keepsake ornament.

COST: Ornaments are $10

WHERE: New Berlin Library, 15105 Library Lane, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Also on Friday, City Hall, 3805 S. Casper Drive, will be open until 8 p.m. for those wanting ornaments and a calligrapher will be there to personalize the ornaments.

In addition, order forms can still be found on the kiosk at the library and in the City Hall foyer. Order forms also can be printed from the New Berlin city website at newberlin.org and online at newberlinchristmas.com.

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