Medina’s big parade is a crowd-pleaser
MEDINA – It was a night to remember in Medina.
Saturday’s 10th annual Parade of Lights unfolded before a crowd of thousands who packed Main Street to view the spectacular event.
Earlier in the day, a light rain was reason to worry whether the parade should be canceled. But after a meeting of the committee with village officials, the decision was made the show would go on, said parade chairman Jim Hancock.
The day began with the arrival of Santa Claus at noon. All day in the village, vendors lined the streets and merchants offered special deals to shoppers.
The dinner hour found Megan McGraph and her children, Aiden, 15, Owen, 10 and Brinn, 4, taking a break from shopping to have supper at the Country Club Restaurant.
“Although I live in Albion, we come to this every year,” McGraph said. “I work in Medina and have a lot of friends here, and this event is so phenomenal. I’m so impressed with all the businesses who participate.”
The family arrived early so the children could see Santa. Brinn told him she wanted building blocks and a baby that cries for Christmas.
Former Medina mayor Adam Tabelski, his wife Rachel and two children came to spend the day and watch the Parade of Lights.
“I’ve been back several times for the parade,” said Tabelski, who now lives in Batavia. “We’ve had hot chocolate at the Shirt Factory Café, chocolates at Della’s and now supper at the Country Club and then the parade.”
Tabelski was excited about seeing the statue of the World War I-era soldier which was going to be introduced to Medina for the first time in the parade.
“I was mayor 10 years ago when the pedestal for the monument was dedicated,” he said. “I’m anxious to see it completed.”
The statue of a doughboy was a lead float in the parade, having just been delivered from the foundry at the University of Buffalo, where it was fired. It is the culmination of a dream by the late Bill Menz to pay tribute to the men who trained for four world conflicts at the Medina Armory – in Company F and later Company C.
Menz died in July, just four months before the statue was completed.
Bill’s widow Betty and daughter Mary Beth Germano had front row seats for the parade.
“This is going to be so emotional,” Betty said. “Once Bill started this project, everything took a back seat. He may not be here physically, but his spirit is all around us.”
Daughter Lynne Menz picked up the ball where her dad left off, and saw the project to completion. She rode in the parade with Cathy Fox and Cathy Whittleton Iorio, both daughters of Company F veterans.
Also at the event were Bill and Betty’s daughter Teresa Menz, son and daughter-in-law Tim and Karen Menz and granddaughters Alissa, Meghan and Natalie.
As the statue was removed from storage at the Pickle Factory to head to the parade, the family took a minute to offer a toast to Bill and all those whose support resulted in completion of Bill Menz’ dream.
Donna Johnson of Medina volunteered in the Santa House in Rotary Park, working with the scavenger hunt. Children had to find certain items in the stores and then bring their results to the Santa House.
In spite of rain most of the afternoon, Johnson said there were good crowds, and everyone was having a wonderful time.
“People were wet but happy,” she said.
The rain had subsided by late afternoon, and crowds gathered near Rotary Park at 5 p.m. to hear the Mark Time Marchers from Churchville play Christmas songs and some old favorites. This was followed by lighting of the giant Christmas tree in the park and then fireworks over downtown.
Shortly after 6 p.m., the parade led off from the Pickle Factory, and down Park Avenue to Main Street, where people filled the sidewalks.
The 45 floats featured entries by fire companies, service groups, churches and local businesses.
All entrants were asked to incorporate the number “10” in their float, honoring the 10th anniversary of the parade.
Bentley Brothers of Albion entered 10 RVs, all named for reindeer. In addition to the eight original reindeer and Rudolph, the 10th was “Kubota,” a reindeer in training.
ARG Disposal was hardly recognizable as a garbage truck, adorned with lights to look like a reindeer.
Interestingly, according to Hancock, almost 40 percent of the entries were first-timers. Judging was very close for all the awards, he said.
“We thank all groups who entered a float in our 10th anniversary edition of the most spectacular parade in all of Western New York,” Hancock said. “See you next year.”
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