Plan to change date of Exeter Holiday Parade nixed after volunteer emerges to head up effortsBy JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent October 10. 2018 9:29PM
EXETER — The Exeter Holiday Parade is back on for the first Saturday in December.
A week after some town officials, business owners and other community members raised concerns about a plan to move the annual event to the second Saturday in December, the parade committee has agreed to stick with tradition.
At a meeting Tuesday night, local business owner and longtime parade volunteer Beth Dupell offered to head up the parade this year to keep the event held on Dec. 1.
Darius Thompson, who has been in charge of the parade for many years, had asked to hold the parade on Dec. 8 because he won’t be able to attend on Dec. 1 as he will be at a wedding.
Thompson plays an important role as the point person for the parade and suggested it would have to be moved to Dec. 8 if no one else stepped up and offered to take charge.
Moving the parade a week later in December didn’t sit well with some people, especially downtown business owners who worried that the road closures and other parade impacts would hurt their busy holiday shopping season.
Thompson said he was glad to see Dupell step up to oversee the parade this year.
Dan Milewski, another volunteer, offered to head it up next year, Thompson said.
“Every community event needs new people, new blood, and new leadership to get engaged,” he said. “I knew somebody would step up, I just didn’t know who.”
Thompson said he will help with the transition to new leadership.
Dupell said she’s excited to step in on an interim basis to ensure the parade is held on its traditional date.
“The committee is excited, but yet we know we have a big challenge ahead of us as the parade is only seven weeks away. The feedback from the community, the business owners, and the parade volunteers was for the Dec. 1 date,” she said.
Dupell thanked Thompson for his leadership and friendship over the years.
“The committee is comforted knowing Darius is just a phone call, email or text away if we have any questions or concerns,” she said.
The parade operates with a tight budget and a small group of volunteers, which poses some challenges.
Thompson said it costs about $7,500 to hold the parade each year. While the town contributes $3,000, the rest must be raised through donations.
Anyone interested in donating to the parade can make checks payable to the Exeter Holiday Parade, P.O. Box 164, Exeter, N.H., 03833-0164.