LACONIA — Husband, father, athlete, coach, farmer and entrepreneur, Kevin Haligan will join the ranks of those honored to lead the Laconia Downtown Holiday Parade this Saturday, Nov. 30 beginning at 11 a.m.
Halligan is a friendly bear of a man who seems like he could throw a great party and then be the life of it. He is well known to many in Laconia ("I think I know everybody — well, 80 percent of the town") as the owner-operator of Local Eatery in Veterans Square and the Laconia Village Bakery on Main St., and also for coaching Laconia Youth Basketball.
Halligan is still unsure of his mode of parade transport. "I might walk, use an antique car, ride a sleigh — but I'd love to drive a beefed-up go-kart, since I want to get one anyway." Whatever way he goes, he will be accompanied by his wife Gillian and their four children: daughters Sierra (age 9), Devyn (8), Savanah (3), and son Jamison (1).
"They don't exactly know what grand marshal means. But I told them we'd be up at the front of it, and they're excited. My girls were in the parade with Lakes Region Gymnastics two years ago, and they were supposed to be in it again this year with the Girl Scouts. But now they have to ride with dad!" Kevin himself has often watched the parade but never before been in it. "I' m just not a public figure. But it's exciting, cool. It'll be fun."
Halligan played football at Laconia High School — linebacker and tight end — and the team he captained at LHS won the 1999 championship. He also coached football at Gilford High.
The Local Eatery will be part of the Holiday Parade happenings. From eight to noon on Parade Day, he'll be serving a Farm Breakfast. It's also a fundraiser to provide vouchers to the disadvantaged to buy local.
''They need more funding for the program. And I want to do that each month so people can have a good breakfast" says Halligan.
The parade will feature high school bands, floats and marchers. It starts out at Wyatt Park in the South End and will head up through the city's downtown area to Veterans Square. All downtown businesses will be open throughout the day.
The traditional lighting of the city's tree in Veterans Park will follow the parade.
The parade is sponsored by the Lakes Region Chamber of Commerce, the Laconia Main Street Initiative, the Bank of New Hampshire, Franklin Savings Bank, the Soda Shoppe and The Laconia Daily Sun.
Kevin Halligan serves up food at the New Hampshire Coffee Festival which was held in downtown Laconia in October. He will be grand marshal of this year's holiday parade. (Roger Amsden/for The Laconia Daily Sun)