Hampden Mayor's Christmas Parade canceled due to snow

For the first time in its history, the 41st annual Hampden Mayor's Christmas Parade has been canceled.

"It's never been canceled, not in 41 years," said Zack Brown, a longtime parade marshal. "It's a shame (after) 41 years of going strong."

He said it would not be rescheduled this year.

Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake announced in a press release that she had canceled the parade due to inclement weather. Tom Kerr, the parade's longtime lead organizer, said he made the decision late Sunday morning and notified the mayor's office.

"It was my decision," he said. (The snow) just came so fast. There was nothing we could do about it. People were starting to slip and slide and some of the bands were canceling."

Not many floats or participants had arrived at the staging area, the Poly-Western parking lot, by noon, with the parade scheduled to start at 1 p.m., Brown said. He said only a stem calliope and a Santa Claus float had arrived.

About $34,000 had been raised for the parade, including donations from the Hampden Community Council and Hampden Village Merchants' Association. The merchants group made an ornate float in the shape of an 'H' for Hampden. Longtime friends Deron Garrity, captain of the Northern District Police, and Scott Lake, captain of the Engine 21 fire station in Hampden, were supposed to be co-grand marshals of the parade.

Kerr said he hoped Garrity and Lake would be grand marshals next year, and he vowed that the parade would go in 2014.

"It'll be Dec. 7," he said. "Write it down."

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