Festive cheer as Christmas parade gets back to normal
The annual MarketPlace Christmas Parade drew thousands to Hamilton yesterday as it returned to its normal route for the first time in three years.
The festive event, which took a “drive-by” approach in 2020, 2021 and 2022 owing to the Covid-19 pandemic, was in full force as performers and spectators flooded Front Street.
Bernell Williams, 46, brought his family to the event — and came dressed for the occasion in a Christmas-themed suit.
He said: “I’ve got three of these Christmas suits at home, and if I can’t wear them now then when can I wear them?”
Mr Williams, from Paget, said he came to the parade annually after the births of his two children.
His daughter, now 8, performed in the parade with DanceSations and he and his ten-year-old son were out to support her.
Mr Williams added: “It’s good to be able to get together with family and friends and just enjoy the season.”
The parade travelled on Front, Court and Church streets.
It featured floats and performances from, among others, Gombey troupes, PHC Majorettes and the Royal Bermuda Regiment Band and Corps of Drums.
Gwen Williams, 68, said it was the first time in more than 20 years that she attended the Christmas parade.
She said that her granddaughter, Taelor Maybury, 4, was performing with the St George’s Dancerettes and she wanted to support her.
Ms Williams added: “I used to bring my kids when they were younger, but then I just started watching it from home on television.
“When you have kids you’re always coming out, but once they get older you can settle down.”
Ms Williams, from Smith’s, said she loved the atmosphere of the Christmas parade.
She said: “I don’t even know anybody here, yet when we come together everybody’s pleasant, everybody speaks and I love that.”
Children were entertained by characters such as Minnie Mouse, members of the Toy Story cast and even caught a glimpse of Santa Claus himself.
The event closed with a five-minute fireworks display.
Mark Hatherley, 48, believed the parade was a staple of the holiday season in Bermuda.
He said: “I love the atmosphere around this time of year.
“People tend to treat you a little better this time of year, everybody’s in that cheery spirit, and the weather’s nice and cool.”
Mr Hatherley brought his daughter Daniella, who “likes Christmas as much as I do”, and said they try to attend the parade every year.
He added: “We didn’t even know they were going to have fireworks.
“They were lovely — it’s been a while since I’ve seen fireworks up close like that.”
Tasha DeVent, 41, has attended the parades every year since 2012.
She loves the atmosphere as well as the work that goes into the dances and floats.
She added: “The fireworks were great. It was long, but we got a full show so I was really happy about that.”
Ms DeVent said she attended an earlier drive-by parade but admitted that “it wasn’t the same”.
She added: “I know they were doing the best they could, but I couldn’t wait to get back out to do this.”
Suzanne DeCouto, 57, and her family have attended the Christmas parade for about 15 years — and they go all out every year.
She said that she and her family set up a table with music, festive food and drinks.
Ms DeCouto said: “People just come by and say hi to us, then have something to eat or go somewhere else.
“The kids will be dancing in the street. It’s just a fun time all around.”
Ms DeCouto, from Paget, said her family loved Christmas and the parade gave them another excuse to celebrate.
She added: “It’s just the idea of getting together, the Christmas spirit, and the feeling of everybody happy and singing and dancing.”
Ms DeCouto’s son, Corey, 23, said that his mother had brought him to the parade every year since he was 7.
He added that now, visiting from California as an adult and seeing the parade for the first time in years, it was great to be back.
Mr DeCouto said: “Bermuda’s come a long way with the turnout — I think a lot more people have come out, and it feels like after the coronavirus and everything else people are in good spirits.
“I think we have a very good Christmas ahead of us.”