By Eugenia Moskowitz
The sixth annual Washingtonville Christmas Parade and Tree Lighting on Dec. 3 was the village’s largest ever, according to both the Blooming Grove/Washingtonville Chamber of Commerce and the Washingtonville Police Department, with estimates of well over 1,000 people lining Main Street and congregating in Center Square.
At 6:20 p.m. the Tetz Family Clydesdales paced off the parade consisting of classic cars, various trucks from local businesses – some like Marino Paving pulling giant-sized trailers filled with members of various local sports, youth, and civic organizations – and massive lit-up trucks from various fire departments, sirens wailing. The only requirement by parade organizers was that the vehicles be illuminated for the season, and all were creatively dressed for the occasion with thousands of tiny lights, one even with a suds-spewing device fitted on the back, while firefighters topping the large ladder trucks had to duck to get under the streetlight in the center of town. Two fire trucks even pulled actual rescue fireboat floats filled with children.
Michele Lewis of the Blooming Grove/Washingtonville Chamber of Commerce said, “After six years, the parade has now definitely taken on a life of its own.” The event began on a much smaller scale in 2011 after Hurricane Irene devastated the village. Chamber President Rick Lewis felt residents needed something positive to bring them together and the Fire Truck Parade, as it was then called, was born with only a handful of local fire trucks taking part in a small, cozy atmosphere. But it grew steadily each year as it encapsulated a perfect storm of joy: local people singing Christmas carols and sipping hot cocoa, kids marveling at fire trucks, and Santa lighting up the village Christmas tree.
“There isn’t another town that does what we do,” Michele Lewis said. “Residents look forward to it every year.”