Do-Dah Parade: Exeter’s nutty New Year’s tradition
By Tom Price Jr.
Adopted from a similar Southern California parade, Exeter's Do-Dah Parade on New Year's Eve has captured the hearts and the imagination of its residents.
"It's kind of fun and zany," said Randy Cox who entered his Dodge Cobra in the parade. "I have a son and a son-in-law that might be riding their scooters in the parade and they are as nutty as me. It is just fun."
Describing the Exeter Lions Club sponsored parade is as simple as that … it's nutty. With past entries including pancake tossers, kazoo bands and synchronized pruning, organizers never know what they are going to get.
"People do whatever they want as long as it is entertaining for the crowd," Event Chairman Paul Evans said. "There is always a good showing and everybody has a good time."
This year, participants range from the Girl Scouts to the Chamber of Commerce and all are expected to show up with something unexpected. It's a rare occasion when goofing around is not only accepted, it's mandatory.
"People tend to dig out their uglier looking vehicles and bring them out for this parade," Evans said. "It is a collective mixture of different groups all having fun."
The parade, which is slowly joining other events as annual Exeter traditions was almost forgotten after the Chamber of Commerce which originally brought the parade to Exeter quit supporting it. That was when the Lions Club stepped in and revived the zany parade.
"It was basically a situation where everybody was having so much fun so we took it over," Evans said. "We would like it to be even bigger, although we already get good crowds."
This year a new wrinkle was added to the parade. In an effort to expand the parade the Lions Club is offering prize money, which will be donated to charities selected by the participants.
When entry forms are filled out at the Chamber of Commerce, participants select one of the many area charities listed on the form. The winner of the competition will get $500 donated to their charity, second place gets $300 and third place gets $200.
The New York New Year fireworks show will begin at 9 p.m. (12 a.m. EST) instead of the traditional time at midnight. The Lions Club announced in October that it would move the time up so that parents and their children could enjoy the celebration together without having to stay up too late.
The City of Exeter is again providing much of the funding for the free fireworks display.
At its Oct. 14 meeting, the Exeter City Council appropriated $5,500 for the event.
For more information contact Paul Evans with the Exeter Lions Club or visit the Exeter Chamber of Commerce.