Medina ups ante for Parade of Lights

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 30 March 2016 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Matt Mundion, left, was the grand champion for the Medina’s Parade of Lights for the third straight year in November. He donated the $1,000 grand prize back to the parade committee. He is pictured this morning with Jim Hancock, parade chairman (center), and David Miller, a member of the committee.

The Waterport Float heads down Park Avenue in the 2015 parade. Organizers want homeowners to enliven the street with decorations for this year’s parade.

Mundion won top prize at the Nov. 28 parade with “Medina Express,” a float with four units.

MEDINA – Matt Mundion has been grand champion of the Parade of Lights in Medina the last three years. He refuses to keep the grand prize money for having the top float, donating it back to parade committee to try to entice more participants and build a better festival.

Mundion won in 2014 and gave the $500 grand prize back. That allowed organizers to boost the grand prize to $1,000 in 2015. Mundion declined to accept the bigger grand prize again.

That is allowing the committee to keep the top prize at $1,000 for 2016 and also add $500 more to the fireworks show.

The committee gives away another $1,800 in prizes to other float winners. This year’s parade on Nov. 26 will include additional prizes for homeowners on Park Avenue who decorate their property for the parade.

Jim Hancock, the parade chairman, wants to make Park Avenue brighter and more colorful for the parade, and also have more people on that street, rather than so many packed in the downtown.

The committee is going to give a $100 first prize and $50 second place to the best-decorated homes on Park Avenue.

Mundion owns a contracting business and he brainstorms with his employees and friends for float ideas. He turns his Orient Street shop into a work zone about a week before the parade, creating elaborate floats. Last year he built a train.

He has entered six of the seven parades thus far.

“Initially it was for the advertisement,” he said. “But I like to see the kids faces when we round the corner on Main Street. They’re floored.”

Mundion said the only drawback about being in the parade is he can’t see the other floats as the slowly creep along the parade route.

“I’m thinking I will do it one more year and then retire from the parade because I want to be able to watch it,” he said this morning when he gave the $1,000 grand prize back to the committee.

Hancock thanked the many organizations, businesses and service groups that participate in the parade each year. There are about 45 to 50 altogether. The Medina Business Association also deserves praise for spearheading the Olde Tyme Christmas festival in Medina, Hancock said.

“It’s becoming a family tradition,” he said. “People come from out of town for Thanksgiving and then stay for the parade. It’s a perfect ending to a lovely day.”

For more on Olde Tyme Christmas, click here.