When the East Toledo Christmas Parade steps off Dec. 3 at 11 a.m., something, or rather someone will be missing.
As they have every year, paradegoers can enjoy floats, bands, Model T classic cars, the Waite and Stritch high school homecoming queens, antique fire trucks, football teams, scout units and of course Santa Claus.
But this year, Santa won’t be followed by his faithful friend and “protector,” Frank Kaspitzke, who always followed the float in his van to help keep the Jolly Old Elf safe.
Kaspitzke, who died Oct. 12 at the age of 70, started helping with the parade in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s when he was working at River East Economic Redevelopment. After stepping away for a period, he agreed in 1990 to be co-chairman of the annual event, along with Denny Fairchild.
“Frank had been in a wheelchair since he was in his teens but he never let that slow him down and he always had a great disposition,” Fairchild said. “Sometimes I would get frustrated and start ranting and raving and Frank would tell me to calm down, that everything would work out, and it always seemed that it did.
“I think Frank enjoyed working the parade,” he said. “He was always looking for ways to build the parade and make it bigger than the previous year. The last two years we went up one side of Main Street and down the other, dropping off fliers and talking with businesses about getting in the parade.
“He was a good friend, and was dedicated to the parade,” Fairchild said. “He was very proud of the fact that the parade has gone on for as long as it has.
“We lost a person dedicated to East Toledo and he will be greatly missed,” he added.
The parade route starts at East Broadway and S. Ravine in front of Waite High School football stadium. It will travel East Broadway to Starr turn right to Main Street, turn right on Main to Front, finally turning right on Front to Morrison and disband at the Waite High School Skills Center.
For more information about the parade, call Fairchild at 419-693-9517.
Santa will herald in the holidays in the 40th East Toledo Christmas Parade Dec. 3. Missing from this year’s event will be longtime co-chairman Frank Kaspitzke, who passed away in October. (Press photo by Ken Grosjean)