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45th Annual Woodbridge Holiday Parade Goes Global

Nov. 29, 2005

BBC-TV crew will film Dec. 4 parade for feature on visiting British musicians

Participants in the annual Woodbridge Township Holiday Parade are used to being seen by a few thousand viewers watching the Township’s cable channel WTT-35. This year, they’ll be glimpsed by a few million viewers watching on the other side of the Atlantic.

A BBC-TV crew from England will cover the Dec. 4 parade – the biggest in New Jersey – as part of a feature shown in conjunction with the 2006 New Year’s Day Parade in London, the largest New Year’s Day celebration in Europe with an estimated television viewing audience of 150 million.

What brings the BBC to Woodbridge is the band leading off the Holiday Parade: the award-winning Allentown High School Redbird Marching Band of Allentown, New Jersey. The Redbird Band is currently hosting two British high school band musicians, whose activities and insights the BBC will document as they perform with their American bandmates in Woodbridge.

A perennial prize-winner at the New York St. Patrick's Day Parade, the Marching Redbirds have played at the White House, Epcot Center and major college football bowl games. Their next performance after the Woodbridge Township Holiday Parade will be in the company of British Prime Minister Tony Blair and Queen Elizabeth II at the London New Year’s Day Parade.

This year’s Woodbridge Township Holiday Parade is set for Sunday, December 4, starting at 1:30 p.m. from Woodbridge High School and concluding at Town Hall. The parade rain date is December 11. This year’s parade theme is “A Holiday of Hope and Charity”.

The parade theme was selected as a way of honoring the Township’s many ongoing volunteer and donor efforts, says Mayor Pelzman. “Starting with last December’s Asian tsunami through the recent Gulf Coast hurricanes and other global disasters, our generosity and faith in the future have been taxed and tested again and again,” he notes. “Yet people continue to come forward to aid not only their neighbors but complete strangers living across the world. The theme of this parade reflects the joy and spirit of what the holidays are really about.”

The Woodbridge Township Holiday Parade is a colorful blend of more than 100 contingencies – homegrown, hometown specialties encompassing a splendid array of floats, marching units, fire and first aid members, veterans groups and bands, along with a trio of Queens and their Courts representing the three Township high schools and, making a special New Jersey appearance, Santa Claus.

The Grand Marshals for this year’s 45 th annual Woodbridge Township Holiday Parade each represent a branch of the United States armed services:

Stuart Brandow(Army) of Woodbridge. Mr. Brandow is a World War II veteran who served in the 78 th Infantry Division and is an active member of the Avenel VFW.

Steve Cserr (Navy) of Hopelawn. Mr. Cserr is a World War II veteran and Past Commander of Hopelawn VFW Post 1352.

Bill Thomas (Air Force) of Iselin. Mr. Thomas joined the Air Force in 1954, did his basic training at Sampson Air Force Base in New York and was based in Alaska.

Bill Szabunia (Marines) of Fords. Mr. Szabunia served in Vietnam and is an active member of the Marine Corps League in Avenel.

John Craig (Coast Guard) of Colonia. Mr. Craig served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1950-53.

“We are proud to honor these five men who have helped defend the freedoms we enjoy today,” says Mayor Pelzman. “Our holiday parade always brings out thousands of our residents, so it is therefore fitting that we salute our armed forces during this very popular event.”

The Holiday Parade is coordinated by the Township Parks and Recreation Department and is one of Woodbridge Township’s biggest events, drawing thousands of people each year and highlighting several holiday events in Woodbridge: the Holiday Train Display at the Barron Arts Center, Picture with Santa at Woodbridge Community Center, Christmas Tree Lighting, Chanukah Menorah Lighting and Barron Arts Center Holiday Concert.

Marching spots are still available for groups and organizations. There is no fee for a marching spot. Float sponsorships are also available. “This is a very visible and unique form of advertising for any local business or company,” says John Eberhardt, Parks and Recreation Department Director.

Parade participants or float sponsors should call Mr. Eberhardt at the Woodbridge Township Parks and Recreation Department, 732-596-4047.


©2000 MIS Department