The annual Lighted Santa Parade in downtown Puyallup welcomed more than 120 entries Saturday night — all lit up and festive — on an evening with clear skies and no chance of rain.
Danny Bonaduce, known for his role as Danny Patridge in the Patridge Family TV show, was the grand marshal.
“The weather is nice,” said Michele McGill, executive director of Puyallup Main Street Association. “I think it’s turning out well, and we’re excited about Danny Bonaduce.”
As he’s been a host on 102.5 KZOK’s morning show in the past year, Bonaduce’s ability to pronounce Puyallup correctly on the air caught on and quickly earned him the name the “Mayor of Puyallup.” Last April, he premiered his movie, “Big Foot,” at the Liberty Theater in Puyallup and was welcomed by Rick Hansen, the actual Puyallup mayor.
Since then, the running joke has been that Bonaduce is the mayor of the town. And Hansen said he’s all right with that.
“We thought we would give him the honor of being the grand marshal because he has supported the City of Puyallup all year long,” McGill said. “We checked with Mayor Rick Hansen to make sure he was OK. He said it was a great idea.”
Bonaduce was at the Charlie’s Restaurant just before he entered the parade Saturday night. He said he’s told he needs to be in several parades a year as a radio show host.
“This is the first time I’ve chosen to be in a parade, and it’s just fun,” Bonaduce said.
Bonaduce saddled himself atop the windshield of the black KZOK SUV he paraded down Meridian, waving to the hundreds of people who lined each side of the street. The crowd roared as he strolled, and he gave everyone gracious smiles and waving aggressively.
Prior to the start, students from Aylen, Ferrucci, Edgemont and Glacier View junior highs volunteered to carol.
Ferrucci Junior High’s chamber choir, led by director Maria LaBounty, performed a variety of both contemporary and traditional Christmas songs.
“This is a great opportunity for kids to perform for their community and have fun,” LaBounty said.
Other entries included dozens of Girl Scout and Boy Scout troops; Puyallup City Council members; state Sen. Bruce Dammeier and state Rep. Hans Zeiger; and Santa Claus atop a vintage 1940s Mack fire engine, which was donated by Central Pierce Fire and Rescue.
Santa, performed by David German, finished his trip at the Rotary Stage in Pioneer Park, where community service volunteers from Central Pierce provided pictures for free. Film and supplies for up to 1,500 photos were provided by Pierce County Firefighters Local 726.
Central Pierce’s new Medical Explorers Post 905 handed out cookies and hot cocoa, donated by Costco.
German said he’s been Santa in the parade since 1998.
“I didn’t apply for the job,” he joked. “Somebody from the city walked into my shop and took one look at me and said I needed a second job. I’ve been doing Santa ever since.”
German’s wife, Valene Patton-German, is Mrs. Claus. German said he looks like he should be Santa, with a nice, full white beard.
“I try to be jolly and give everyone a good ho, ho, ho,” German said. “I probably say Merry Christmas 50 to 100 times throughout the parade. I look to their faces and try to look for their eye contact and wish them a Merry Christmas. I’m a symbol of Christmas.”
Reporter Andrew Fickes can be reached at 253-552-7001 or by email at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter, @herald_andrew.