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Courtesy photo.




March into Christmas
Stormtroopers, revelers join in music-themed parade

11/24/16
By Ryan Lessard news@hippopress.com



 This year’s Manchester Christmas parade, on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 4 p.m., is going to have a lot of new participating groups and new sights for parade watchers.

As always, the Santa Claus Shuffle road race starts off right before the parade (see page 14 for more details).
“The minute the last Santa goes, we kick off the parade with the firefighters and their boot drive for the Santa Fund. And then the parade really commences,” said Sara Beaudry with Intown Manchester.
Every year, Intown Manchester establishes a theme for the parade and participants craft their floats based on that theme. Last year it was the “magic of Christmas” and this year it’s the “merry music of Christmas.” 
Beaudry said there are typically around 80 or 90 groups participating and this year there will be a diverse mix of perennial participants like UNH Manchester and newcomers.
“There are several new groups that have come in. I would say 12 to 15 groups that are different from years past,” Beaudry said.
This year, Beaudry is excited to see a lot of cosplayers join in the festivities, such as the New England Brethren of Pirates, and joining Double Midnight Comics this year will be the 501st Legion, a group that dresses as the imperial stormtroopers from Star Wars. Double Midnight folks will be dressed as characters from Guardians of the Galaxy and other superheroes. 
Beaudry said it’s free to participate in the parade and there are cash prizes for the best floats.
She said downtown will be decked out with Christmas decorations and lights.
In the days surrounding the parade, Intown Manchester is also organizing Holiday Market days for the sixth year. They will take place on Thursdays, Dec. 1, Dec. 8 and Dec. 15, and Saturday, Dec. 10, at the Brady Sullivan Plaza, 1000 Elm St.
Vendors will set up indoors and showcase their local crafts and goods, and their booths will be fully adorned with Christmas decorations.
“This is just another way to shop local and shop downtown,” Beaudry said.
She said the Holiday Market has grown every year and this year’s indoor market has sold out its vendor space. 
The first 90 shoppers to appear at the Holiday Market each day will receive a free collectible shopping bag.





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