By SCOTT JACKSON
Thousands of onlookers lined up along Hancock Street between Quincy Square and North Quincy on Sunday afternoon to witness the city’s 69th Christmas parade, which featured dozens of bands and floats, plus scores of costumed characters.
The theme of this year’s parade was “Christmas Through the Decades.” The theme was chosen by the Quincy Christmas Festival Committee in October and had been submitted by JoJo Hallisey, a Quincy resident and teacher at Central Middle School.
The parade stepped off at noon on Sunday from the intersection of Hancock Street and Hannon Parkway in Quincy Square and continued for three miles until it reached North Quincy High School. Among those participating in the parade this year was the University of Massachusetts Amherst marching band, a renowned 380-member unit. Santa Claus, as always, made an appearance as well, riding along the Quincy Fire Department’s Ladder 2.
Prizes were awarded to the best floats and high school marching bands at the conclusion of Sunday’s parade.
The George White Award for Best Quincy Commercial Float went to the Quincy Park Conservancy; the group’s float included children dressed as Beanie Babies. Montilio’s was awarded the prize for Best Commercial Float; the bakery’s float included a gingerbread house. The Rotary Club/Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office were named the Best Specialty Float. Those prize winners each received a plaque for their efforts.
The Town River Sailing Program was awarded the Father Thomas Tierney Grand Prize Award for best overall non-commercial float, which comes with a $2,000 cash award and plaque. The winning float included a number of toys from decades past.
The Friends of Quincy Recreation were awarded the prize for First Place Non-Commercial Float, which comes with a $1,500 cash award. Their “Rec & Roll” float was a throwback to the 1950s.
North Quincy High School’s entry – an homage to the former Wollaston Theatre – took home second-place in the non-commercial float field, which comes with a $1,000 cash award. Quincy High School came in third place in the non-commercial field, a $750 cash award; the school’s float included posters from Christmas films of the last 75 years. The Lotus Montessori School was named the fourth place winner in the non-commercial field, which comes with a $500 cash award.
In the marching band competition, the Quincy-North Quincy combined band took home first place overall with a score of 92.6. David Prouty was second overall with a score of 86.6 and New Bedford third with a score of 86.5.
In the Division I band competition, David Prouty finished in first place, Immaculate Heart of Mary second place and Somerset-Berkley in third place. David Prouty had best music score; Immaculate Heart of Mary best percussion score and Somerset-Berkley best color guard.