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Sylvia Besana parade keeps early holiday tradition rolling on

By: Scott Thomas Anderson, Editor
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Sylvia Besana is still remembered as one of the most tireless volunteers in the history of Roseville’s modern civic life, and the annual parade that bares her name will be rolling on again Nov. 17, priming the community for a season of giving and good cheer.

Roseville has ushered in the coming Christmas season with a parade for 51 years. Organizer Katie Delyon of the Roseville Area Chamber of Commerce acknowledged the event falls early on the calendar, making it unique amongst regional celebrations.

“It’s a long standing tradition to hold the parade before Thanksgiving,” Delyon said. “I know that’s something people associate with it.”

Running from 3:30 to 8:30 p.m., the parade with feature an array of highlights, including the Roseville Alumni Float, the Silverado Middle School marching band, Sing Inc. performers, Sherman Schaffer’s 1929 Ford Model A “Old Ice Truck” of Roseville, the Multi-Cultural Youth Dance Group and many more floats and music acts.

The long train of entertainment will start at Vernon Street and Douglas Boulevard before proceeding down the historic downtown corridor and then detouring right on Folsom Road to end at Roseville Square.

Standout Talent will have a number of Disney princesses greeting children in front of the Tower Theater. Crafters from around the city will also have a row of booths down the 200 block of Vernon Street.

Santa Claus will light the official city Christmas tree, located on Vernon Street near the Post Office, at 6:30 p.m.

For Aldo Pineschi, a past president of Roseville’s chamber, one of the most important aspects of the event is living up to the high standard of quality set by Besana. Pineschi is one of many residents who was a student when Besana was vice principal of Roseville High School. It was a tenure — along with Besana’s 40 years as parade chair — that left an impression on an entire generation of residents.

“For those of us who saw everything Sylvia did, we really try to make the parade live up to a tradition that would have her stamp of approval,” Pineschi said. “It’s been a legacy in the city ever since she was involved with it.”

Besana passed away in July of 2008. Pineschi also said of her, “Sylvia was a powerful mentor to hundreds of people in this city, so we want to make the parade great, the way she would have wanted it.”