Signcraft with John Wilson
It all started 31 years ago when John Wilson, owner of Signcraft in Niantic, decided to dress up as a Christmas tree, wrap himself with colorful lights, and walk the soon-to-be-traditional Light Parade of Niantic.
With his spectacular display of lights and decorations each year, he is proud to be known as the decade-long winner of “Best Float Overall.” He’s earned bragging rights.
His daughters, Jennifer, Jessica and Jill grew up with Mr. Wilson and share his passion for making floats.
“Honestly, it’s just a family tradition,” said Jill, his youngest daughter, who works with him at Signcraft.
East Lyme Rowing Association (ELRA)
“We’re 100 percent guaranteed going to win again,” said senior captain Hannah Miller. The crew team had high expectations winning first place in the non-profit category last year, even though their oars ran into powerlines and trees. No one’s holiday was spent in the hospital. Crew isn’t a sport offered to middle-schoolers, so they take the Light Parade as an opportunity to introduce them to the sport. They also use it as an advantage to advertise the annual cookie sale fundraiser on Dec. 14 during Breakfast with Santa.
East Lyme Viking Band (ELVB)
ELVB executes a grand performance annually during the Light Parade, which is holiday-themed and paired with he color guard’s synchronized flag-work routine and dance.
“It’s a lot harder for colorguard to put everything together since we don’t get a class…to practice and do all of our work outside of school,” said senior Megan Lefurge, a member of colorguard. Through this challenge, they still look forward to the parade.
“Even though we are wearing those century-old uniforms and are stuck in the freezing cold, I really enjoy performing in the Light Parade and would hands down say it’s my favorite thing about marching band,” said senior Zoe Luich.
Care and Share
Care and Share Food Bank uses the Light Parade as an opportunity to collect cans and donations for the underprivileged through their 15-year tradition of “Fill-a-Float.”
“The people of East Lyme have always been so supportive of Care and Share and the less fortunate people we serve,’’ said Edwin Foster, coordinator of “Fill-a-Float.” While the light parade is a fun, family-friendly event, it is also important to give back to the community during such a season.