Olivia, now age 6, tenderly looks after her younger brother, Max 4. The two will lead the region's Holiday Parade Saturday, Nov. 26. (Courtesy photo)
LACONIA — The grand marshals for this year's holiday parade, which steps off at 4 p.m. this Saturday, are a beloved little boy and girl in the community. Max Gagnon, 4, and his sister, Olivia, 6, will lead the parade and set the tone for the entire evening of festivities, according to the Downtown Laconia Main Street Initiative statement released Monday at the Laconia City Council meeting. The parade will culminate with Santa Claus lighting the tree at Veterans Square.
"Everybody knows Olivia and Max", who are the daughter and son of residents Michael and Amber Gagnon, said John Moriarty of the Main Street Initiatie. "Many of us are aware of the health issues that Max has endured, and we are overwhelmed with his recovery, and look forward to the day when he is fully healthy", said Moriarty, making reference to the Gagnon family's very public battle with ALL (acute lymphoblastic leukemia) which has afflicted their son.
"Young Olivia and Max don't care who was elected president of the United States; they don't care whether the lights on the city's Christmas tree go up and down or round and round, or even whether the lights are pretty, or pretty-ugly. Young Olivia and Max only care that they are loved by their family, and feel the warmth and compassion of the community they live in. What makes them the ideal Grand Marshals is that each of us recognizes a little bit of their struggle in ourselves, and craves the people-to-people connections that unites us and provides the synergy that makes the community as a whole stronger."
Moriarty said that typically, grand marshals have made a lasting impact on the Lakes Region, Laconia, and downtown, with their time, effort, influence and sometimes a generous checkbook as well. He added that the panel that made the selection of this year's grand marshal cited the need for the community to be healed following what has been, nationally a divisive election cycle, which was even more acute in New Hampshire where the campaign has consumed nearly two full years of pitting neighbor against neighbor, with more rancor than ideology.
All are invited to watch the parade, and participate in the second annual Snowman Hunt which starts at 10 a.m. to garner a chance to win $500 cash to be drawn live on WEMJ 107.3 FM just as the parade starts. To join Olivia and Max in the parade, visit www.lakesregionchamber.com for guidelines on decorating your team's, group's, club's or business's float or contact the Downtown Laconia Main Street Initiative at 603-455-2084.
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