Rockin’ Christmas parade to roll through Oxford

Before you hang up your stocking and wait for Santa, put on your poodle skirt and listen for Elvis because Oxford’s annual Christmas Parade is ready to rock ‘n’ roll down Washington St. Saturday, Dec. 6.
Sponsored by the Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce, the theme for this year’s yule tide parade is “Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree.”
A total of 69 entries and counting are expected to march in this year’s parade, which begins at 2 p.m., according to Jennifer Duncan, executive director of the Chamber.
Parade entries include school children, dogs, fire and DPW trucks, dancers, horses, community service groups, politicians, local merchants, sports leagues, Boy and Girl Scout troops, floats galore and of course, Santa and Mrs. Claus riding in their magical sleigh.
One particular entry to be on the look out for this year is Oxford Fire Chief Jack LeRoy sitting atop a 1906 hose cart being pulled by Fire Lt. Terry Roeher.
The chief bet Roeher a can of Mountain Dew he could not pull him the entire length of the parade.
Several firefighters decided to take advantage of the public attention the bet will draw by conducting a food drive for the local needy families.
Parade spectators are being asked to bring non-perishable food donations with them Saturday. Firefighters will be walking along side the chief-in-tow collecting the donations from the crowd.
And don’t forget to check out LeRoy’s new headgear. The chief will be wearing a little red plastic fire hat, the kind handed out to small children at special events.
This year’s parade Grand Marshall is none other than Rochester resident Andy Vascassenno, 81, who’s spent 38 years volunteering countless hours doing behind-the-scenes jobs at Oxford High School sporting events. He also spent 21? years working as a custodian for Oxford Schools.
“He’s one of the most well-loved Oxford people,” Duncan said. “He’s contributed a lot to Oxford over the years.”
As Grand Marshall, Vascassenno will ride at the head of the parade in a limousine.
“I feel so humbled,” said Vascassenno, a former Lakeville resident. “To pick an old goat like me is really wonderful. I feel so good about it. My wife (Judy) does too. Oxford’s been so good to me.”
“I’m all excited. I’m like a little boy waiting for Christmas and time’s going slow. I can’t wait (for the parade),” Vascassenno added.
It’s a happy coincidence that the day of the Christmas parade is also Vascassenno’s 82nd birthday.
The parade will assemble at Daniel Axford, head north on Mechanic St. to Washingston St. (M-24) and continue north until it reaches East St., where it will turn right and disburse in the parking lot behind the Oxford Veterans Memorial Civic Center.
As always, immediately following the parade, Santa will be in Centennial Park listening to Christmas wishes from kids of all ages and posing for photos.
Local businesses are being asked by the Oxford Community Development Authority to use the parade’s 1950s rock ‘n’ roll theme as the basis for their holiday season decorations.
Those businesses decorating according to the theme will be automatically entered in a decorating contest to be judged on Dec. 19, according to OCDA Director Michelle Bishop.