Many annual events have a number associated with them – the 20th Annual Whatever, the 30th Annual Dinner, etc.
When you talk about the annual Christmas Parade in North East, the number of times it has occurred is not part of the story.
It is believed to have started around 1990.
It seems as though North East sort of adopted the parade.
“It really originated with the county,” said North East town administrator Melissa Cook-MacKenzie.
“Marie Cleek was in office,” she recalled.
Cleek served as a County Commissioner in the early 1990s.
Cook-MacKenzie said Cleek envisioned it as an event that would move to a different town each year.
It was held in Perryville, moved to North East – and never went anywhere else.
The county had not made a move to pick up the event and move it to another town, so the town of North East decided to keep on holding the parade.
Al Wein, Director of Administration for Cecil County, said the idea for a county parade started with the Holly Tree celebration in Perryville.
“Barry Gray was the guy who had the idea of a parade on the same day as the Holly Tree lighting,” Wein said.
Wein agreed that County Commissioner Cleek was enthusiastic about having a county parade celebrating the season.
“After Perryville, it went to North East and it sort of settled in North East,” Wein said.
He remembered Ed Slicer, who managed the county’s park and recreation department at the time, as being part of the planning.
Since it was and is Cecil County’s Christmas Parade, the County Commissioners started as the judges for the event. With the move to Charter government, the Cecil County Council has taken over the judging duties and the officials enthusiastically embrace their annual parade duties.