It's an early gift for Dover as the Holiday Parade will be back in November after two years.

The parade was cancelled in 2020 because of the pandemic. It was canceled again in 2021 because no organization was willing to take on the responsibility of producing the parade.

Thanks to Lori Nollet of Cocheco Friends and Dover City Councilman Deputy Mayor Dennis Shanahan, the parade will step off once again on the traditional Sunday after Thanksgiving. This year's date is November 27.

"I've lived in Dover over 20 years. My husband and kids and I have always gone to the parade. We were also disappointed that it wasn't around for a second year in a row," Nollet told Seacoast Current.

After learning the reason why the 2021 parade was canceled, she got together with her friend Michelle, a fellow project manager, and thought it was something they could take on. She also saw it as a way to jumpstart Cocheco Friends, a charitable organization that she and her husband were about to get off the ground as pandemic restrictions shut everything down.

Dover Holiday Parade in 2014
Dover Holiday Parade in 2014 (AJ St Hilaire)
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Shanahan is her connection to City Hall for the purposes of planning the parade. He had been having conversations with Mayor Robert Carrier about interest from groups willing to take on the responsibility of the parade.

"When we saw Lori and Cocheco Friends input, we said 'that's it. I think we have the folks that can make this happen,'" Shanahan said.

Nollet and Shanahan have spent much of the spring and summer planning for the parade and have also spoken with past parade organizer Stephanie Buldoc, who they called their knowledge base about what needs to get done.

Shanahan said they're not trying to reinvent the parade, and are using a lot of what worked in the past.

"We're keeping the same date, same route, and using a lot of the same structure because we know that's been successful," Shanahan said. "What folks should expect to see November 27 is a lot of what they've seen in past years."

"I think our biggest mystery is finding the banners that were used in the past," Nollet said.

Dover Holiday Parade in 2014
Dover Holiday Parade in 2014 (AJ St Hilaire)
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The next step in the planning is to get the word out for parade volunteers and participants.

"It's going to take a lot of people on that day especially, and in the days leading up to it. Whether they're in the parade, helping behind the scenes, whether they're sponsors, we're really going to look to the community to step up. I've already received a couple of emails from people who are interested in helping," Nollet said.

The parade theme is "Holiday Countdown to Celebrating our Past, Present, and Future" which ties in nicely with Dover's 400th Anniversary Parade. Buldoc is also planning their parade making for three big events within a year in Dover.

"We'll have this parade late November. The 400th Committee will start off their event on New Year's Eve in 2022 rolling over into 2023 for the remainder of their events. We've got a good partnership formed there, and I think we'll have a nice continuity of concepts between the two sets of events," Shanahan said.

Groups and bands interested in marching and those interested in volunteering should contact Cocheco Friends via email at cochechofriends@gmail.com.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNH

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