CH parade-4

A holiday parade will return to Chestnut Hill this year. In the past, a seasonal march was sponsored each year by the Chestnut Hill Development Group, according to a 1981 story in the Chestnut Hill Local. In 1980 Santa was welcomed by youngsters from the pre-kindergarten class of Presbyterian Church of Chestnut Hill, shown here crowded into his truck. History will repeat itself on December 14. (Photo by Chris Brady, courtesy of Chestnut Hill Historical Society)

by Ruth R. Russell

Roll the drums, blow the horns, for a parade is coming to Chestnut Hill on Saturday, December 14.

The march is the idea of Brien Tilley, president of the Chestnut Hill Community Association (CHCA). It will start promptly at 9 a.m. at Rex Avenue and proceed down Germantown Avenue to Hartwell Lane.

Participating will be community and school groups from throughout the area — all to celebrate the holiday season, he told the Local recently. The march will take about an hour to an hour and a half.

Tilley got the idea for a holiday parade from a local merchant who grew up in Chestnut Hill and mentioned it to him. It sounded like a terrific idea to Tilley and he took it to the CHCA board and “they said let’s do it.”

Involved in community activities during the 13 years he has lived here, Tilley is a great advocate of community events that attract children and parents as well as interested adults.

So far the energetic coordinator of the holiday march has not had too much trouble in getting participants.

“We have a number of schools already signed up — Norwood Fontbonne Academy, Our Mother of Consolation School, John Story Jenks School, Crefeld School and Springfield Township High School and Middle School and expect to have more,” he reported.

“We will have Scout troops, the 4-H Club from Northwestern Stables, the Chestnut Hill College basketball team, and the comic brigade from the Venetian Club that performs in the New Year’s Day Parade,” said Tilley, noting that the parade is not just for kids, although, of course Santa, will be coming.

“I expect to have a fire truck and some classic cars, Matt Paul Basketball, representatives of the Wissahickon Skating Club, the Philadelphia Mounted Police, the Chestnut Hill Branch of the U. S. Postal Service and Chestnut Hill Hospital.

“We will also have the University of the Arts, with a unique spin on a marching band. Anyone who knows of a marching band that could participate should let me know,” he said, noting that music is very important to a parade.

The purpose of this particular march is to bring the community together as well as to celebrate the holidays. Tilley stressed that “any kid or adult who wants to be in the parade, or to do something fun should get in touch with me.”

“We especially want the kids because when you have events such as Hoops Madness (successful last year) that attract kids their parents get involved too. After all, kids are the future of the community,” said Tilley.

As coordinator, he has made all the arrangements to have the Avenue closed for just the morning on December 14 and has also enlisted the support of the merchants.

“They are in favor of the parade because it creates community spirit and because the more people we have walking about the Avenue the better.

“We also have a great relationship with the Chestnut Hill Business Association and the Chestnut Hill Business Improvement District,” said Tilley, who encourages anyone who wants to be involved in the parade to contact him at