Members of the Marshwood High School Marching Hawks make their way through Rollinsford, New Hampshire, in a Christmas Parade that started across the state border in South Berwick. Credit: Daryl Carlson | Foster's Daily Democrat

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — Saturday’s South Berwick/Rollinsford, New Hampshire, Christmas parade continued a tradition that dates back to 1982 and this year the weather was almost balmy for the event.

Floats and marchers lined up on Academy Street, followed by the always anticipated fire trucks and other emergency vehicles. The theme of the parade was “The 12 Days of Christmas.”

The stars of the day were members of the Marshwood High School football team and their cheerleaders, all decked out in the school’s classic purple. The Hawks are this year’s Class B state champions and parade organizer Patricia Leach said it was only fitting the entire team be named grand marshals. The purple of the Hawks was rounded out by members of the Marshwood High marching band.

The floats are judged and this year, first place went to First Parish Federated Church for its float filled with children dressed as brightly colored gifts. Their concept pointed out that all the children are gifts, more precious than any other.

“We believe that there is nothing that means more on this holiday, and on every other day,” said Jenn Waddell, organizer of the church float.

Second place went to Drobish Brothers Painting for its gingerbread house, which was in the process of being painted by Drobish Brothers Elves.

“We have done the Festival of Lights in York,” said owner Jeremy Drobish. “This is our first time here. It’s a big family project and we have been working on it since before last Thanksgiving, adding to it along the way.”

Santa and Mrs. Claus were portrayed by Hudson, 4, and Lila, 6, the family’s children.

“I am not the real Santa,” Hudson said. “See? I don’t have a beard.”

The third place float was the work of the Friends of the Rollinsford Public Library, a depiction of Santa’s workshop.

“This is our third year,” said Emily Leach of the Friends. “We add something new each year. I am glad the weather is good today. The first year, we did this in the pouring rain. This is much better.”

The 4H kids of Mane Moxie stuck closely to the parade theme. Their float was a series of open-faced gift boxes, each depicting a day from the famous song, beginning with the partridge in the pear tree.

“Each group of kids took a box and created their theme,” said Brianne Jones of the Mane Moxie group. “I think they did a really nice job.”

This year’s parade had an unusual guest. Tango the guinea pig rode snugly in the basket of Eliot resident Ella Morris’s festively decorated bicycle, wrapped in a warm blanket. The 10-year-old said she takes Tango for a bike ride every day so he is used to it.

“He is used to a bike ride, but I wasn’t sure about a parade,” said Julie Morris, Ella’s mom. “He seems to be doing fine, though.”

“Our Gold sponsors of the parade is P. Gagnon and Sons, our local fuel company,” Leach said. “They have sponsored the parade for many years and we are grateful. This event is based on sponsorship so without them, who knows if we could make it happen.”

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