City residents and many others turned out en mass Sunday afternoon on a truly perfect afternoon for the annual Beverly Holiday Parade. Crowds lined the streets — at least on the sunny side — on this brisk, but gorgeous afternoon, as the parade got off to a timely 1 p.m. start. Most were bundled up for the breezy, low-40s temperatures, but no one seemed to notice as the procession passed by. The parade got underway with a fleet of older cars, the highlights included an early 1950s Hudson Hornet painted a flawless taxi-cab yellow, right down to its hubcaps; an immaculate Model-A Ford pickup truck, and a plethora of late-50s Chevrolets, and older Thunderbirds and Corvettes. With the Beverly High School band playing "Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer," small children, watching with eyes the size of saucers, seemed to find each new group more astonishing than the last.
From the elves of Santa's workshop, the regal Junior Queen of the Topsfield Fair, the NGCB (Next Generation Children's Center Beverly) float filled with children and presents, a rather large American Eagle — on foot — and many more, all, of course, interspersed with paraders tossing and handing out candy by the basketload, the children were spellbound to the end. Santa came last after a procession of Beverly city officials — but a Santa Claus he truly was.
A large man, dressed elegantly in white fur, red velvet, bells and bangles, he rode majestically in a snow-white carriage drawn by two large, beautiful draft horses. Their coats were trimmed, combed and brushed to a perfect sheen. And the way they held themselves as they trotted down the street, you could tell in a second they knew precisely who was most magnificent in the entire parade.
It was a perfect ending to a parade-perfect afternoon.
By Buck Anderson