Christmas City of the North parade rocks and rollsSurely Merv Griffin would approve: Fifty years after he recorded the theme for Duluth’s largest annual parade, a Superior-based band re-worked it as a guitar-heavy rock ’n’ roll song.
By: Christa Lawler, Duluth News Tribune
Surely Merv Griffin would approve: Fifty years after he recorded the theme for Duluth’s largest annual parade, a Superior-based band re-worked it as a guitar-heavy rock ’n’ roll song.
Crescent Moon, which won the 2010 Junior Achievement Battle of the Bands and later opened for Survivor at the Head of the Lakes Fair, played the “Christmas City” song from the bed of a pickup truck during Friday’s Christmas City of the North Parade.
The band provided the soundtrack for dancers from Sterling Silver Studios.
There was no fear of front man Shane Nelson tiring of the tune by the time the parade wound from Railroad Street, over the Interstate 35 overpass and on to Superior Street and headed west.
“I could play it a hundred times over and never get sick of it,” Nelson said.
It was the 22nd parade for Sterling Silver Studios, which is owned by Nelson’s sister, Carolyn Nelson Kavajecz. She said she and her brother have been talking about this collaboration for years.
“Just turning it into a rock ’n’ roll song and making it really fun,” she said.
The 55th annual Christmas City of the North Parade, which is put on by Northland’s NewsCenter, included regional marching bands, a wacky dancing Abominable Snowman, floats decorated with gingerbread houses and the Rhubarb Festival mascot with multi-colored lights wrapped around its leaves.
Proctor High School’s cheerleaders and marching band had a choice position as one of the first groups in the parade — and for good reason. One of the band directors, Katie Sandor, is about seven months pregnant and requested something near the front so she wouldn’t have to be on her feet too long.
“We didn’t expect to be the first band,” she said.
The band played a medley of Christmas pieces and the cheerleaders worked out choreography that included some moves they learned at cheer camp, including their forte, high kicks.
Captain Megan Stemper, who also was celebrating her 17th birthday, has been part of the parade since she was a young dancer. It holds a special place on her calendar.
“It’s the beginning of the Christmas season,” she said.
Nicole Nyberg watched over skaters from the Duluth Figure Skating Club, who were decked out in homemade grass skirts, made from plastic table cloths, and leis. Her 9-year-old daughter, Malerie Nyberg, who has been working on her sit-spin move on ice, showed some hula moves followed by a twist.
“It’s really fun,” Malerie said.
Before the parade began, drummers drummed and pompoms moved in unison on Railroad Street. A handful of mini gingerbread boys and girls were coached on parade waves. Miss West Duluth sat in the back of a convertible and got cheers from the Denfeld High School marching band.
A lean Abominable Snowman danced to a rocked-out version of “Here Comes Santa Claus.”
Parade aficionado Diane Ruuksanen got to the parade more than an hour and a half before start time and had a prime seat at the corner of Third Avenue West and Superior Street.
The 46-year-old Duluthian wore a Bentleyville stocking cap and estimated that she had been to the parade 45 times.
Her annual favorites:
“Santa … and the dancers,” she said.