NEW ROCHELLE, NY — “Here I come to save the day!” said Mighty Mouse. For the 53rd Annual New Rochelle Thanksgiving Parade on Saturday, November 19th the Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the City of New Rochelle will have a whole new look and all are invited to attend the festivities. The parade Grand Marshall is Frank Bernabei, Recreation Supervisor for the City of New Rochelle.
When Bob Marrone, Executive Director of the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce, found out that the Annual Thanksgiving Parade would no longer be funded, he was ready to hang up the towel and said so on his WVOX morning show. Without the parade funding, the Chamber of Commerce which is already low on funds, would not be able to run the parade on its own. However, it was the City of New Rochelle, channeling Mighty Mouse that came in to save the parade subsidizing the Chamber.
“The most exciting addition to this year’s parade will be a giant balloon for each division,” says Mr. Marrone, “And who better than our own Mighty Mouse to kick it off.” So this year, besides the many talented bands that the Chamber of Commerce added last year, you can see Mighty Mouse. He will float past the historic “K” building that housed the Terry Toons studio from 1930-1971where he was created along with other animated cartoons like Heckle and Jeckle and Hector Heathcote. The Terrytoons library was purchased by the CBS Corporation, which will also have a presence in the parade.
A snowman and Mr. Potato Head will also float down North Avenue and Thomas the Tank Engine will be choo chooing along the same route from the Huguenot children’s library to Main Street up to Maple. Helium for the balloons is donated by New Rochelle Auto Body and a donation by Montefiore. There will also be viewing stations at Iona, City Hall, Anderson Park and Memorial Highway.
Beginning at 10 AM, the fun-filled event will feature schools, organizations, companies and bands from in and around Westchester County. With music, floats, classic and exotic cars, and a special appearance by Santa Claus himself, the Thanksgiving Parade is the biggest one in New York outside of the Macy’s parade in New York City.
This year’s Grand Marshall, Frank Bernabei, is near and dear to the City of New Rochelle as he is a lifelong resident and has been an integral part of the city since 1976. As Recreation Supervisor since 1994 his responsibilities include the city’s tennis and adult softball programs, which are two of the largest municipal recreation programs in Westchester. In 1990 he cofounded the company Patchen-Bernabei, Inc., specializing in event logistics and was instrumental in developing the JP Morgan Chase “Corporate Challenge Running Series” into one of the largest and most successful running series in the world. He has also served the community in many ways but especially as Treasurer and President of the Huguenot Lions Club and helped raise over $30,000 for the John F. Fosina Memorial Scholarship and assisted with this very parade and other community events for many years.
Just a few of the parade’s participants include Iona College, The College of New Rochelle, Monroe College, the Boys and Girls Club, the Salvation Army, Webster Bank, FunFuzion, Suburbia Roller Derby, Habitat for Humanity, Peruvian folk dancers of Embajada Latina, The New Dawn Foundation, Boy and Girl Scouts and more.
The parade is preceded by the New Rochelle Fund for Educational Excellence’s annual Pancake Breakfast from 8-9:30 AM (marchers must leave by 9:15 AM). Enjoy delicious pancakes served by the Superintendent of Schools, principals, administrators and members of the Board of Education at New Rochelle High School New Wing Cafeteria! Tickets are just $5.00 and proceeds go to the Fund. For more information visit www.nredfund.org
There’s still room to join the parade! Contact the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce to sign up to march. Float and balloon sponsorships and vehicle options are still available. Find them at http://newrochellechamber.org or at (914) 632-5700.