Deb Anthony named Grand Marshal of 2022 Illuminated Holiday Parade

Portsmouth's 2022 Annual Illuminated Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting takes place this Saturday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m.
Portsmouth's 2022 Annual Illuminated Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting takes place this Saturday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m.

PORTSMOUTH — The city’s 2022 Annual Illuminated Holiday Parade and Tree Lighting takes place this Saturday, Dec. 3, at 6 p.m. Each year the city selects a Grand Marshal who “best exemplifies the spirit of generosity and commitment to the community.” This year, Mayor Deaglan McEachern announced Deb Anthony, who recently retired after eight years as executive director of Gather, is the parade's 2022 Grand Marshal.

In making the announcement, McEachern said, “Deb Anthony is the embodiment of the spirit of generosity for which Portsmouth is known, having guided Gather and the community through some of its most challenging demands since its founding 200 years ago. The pandemic added enormously to the food insecurities of Seacoast families – increasing the number served to more than 2,000 families per month - but also inspired all those who donated, volunteered and advocated for Gather and the needs it serves. Deb is one of those champions of this City of the Open Door who makes sure we hold the door open, whenever and wherever we can.”

Portsmouth’s Illuminated Holiday Parade takes place on the first Saturday evening in December following the annual Tree Lighting ceremony which begins at 5 p.m. with music from the Portsmouth Middle and High School Holiday Ensemble. At 5:30 p.m., the mayor officially marks the beginning of Portsmouth’s holiday season by flipping the larger-than-life switch in the middle of Market Square to light up the downtown holiday tree.

Anthony will be escorted through the parade and arrive in Market Square where she will watch floats, marching bands, fire trucks, Thriller dancers and, of course, Santa Claus riding atop Portsmouth Fire Department’s ladder truck to kick off the holiday season in Portsmouth.

The parade route begins at Summer Street and Islington Street at 6 p.m. and proceeds downtown via Congress Street. The parade continues through Market Square and onto Pleasant Street before concluding at Junkins Avenue.

The city is working with Access Navigators to provide a wheelchair-accessible seated viewing area for the parade. Reserved for people who have difficulty standing, along with their companions, the reserved area is on the sidewalk along Islington Street between Maplewood and Bridge Street. Space and seating is limited and available on a first-come basis. Nearby public parking includes the Bridge Street Lot, Worth Lot and Foundry Garage. Access Navigators are the hosts of this first-time effort, providing assistance and holiday cheer while collecting comments from users about accommodations for future events. For more details go to or @Access Navigators on Facebook.

As many as 10,000 spectators are expected to line the one-mile route. The rain date for the parade is Sunday, Dec. 4. For more information about the parade route and parking, go to:

For more parade information, including how to participate as a unit, contact parade coordinator Brinn Sullivan at 603-767-2697 or

This article originally appeared on Portsmouth Herald: Deb Anthony will be Grand Marshal of Portsmouth NH Holiday Parade