Norwich – The thermometer on the Main Street Chelsea Groton Bank sign said it was 44 degrees at the start of Saturday's Winter Festival Parade, but spectator Julie Nyland of Jewett City didn't believe it.
She wrapped her daughter, 16-month-old Gianna Nyland in three layers as they waited in the Franklin Square area for a glimpse of Gianna's dad, Steven McDonough riding in the bright orange pickup truck that would haul the float honoring POWs/MIAs. This was Gianna's first Winter Festival Parade, but her mother recalled the days when she marched in the annual tradition as a member of the Project Outreach community service club at Norwich Free Academy.
The NFA Marching Band and cheerleaders led the parade with dozens of marchers and musicians generating a big cheer along the route.
Not a formal parade participant, novelty vendor Stu Fishman of Westerly feels he is just as much part of the annual affair. He hasn't missed a Norwich parade or July 4 fireworks festival in more than 20 years. Fishman probably doubled the distance of the parade route, as he criss-crossed through the marchers and firetrucks to reach potential customers lining both sides of the streets as the parade worked its way from Chelsea Parade through downtown to end at Franklin Square.