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84th Annual Milwaukee Holiday Parade Rings In The Holiday Season While Helping Those In Need

Nov. 10, 2010

The local holiday season gets its official kick-off at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday, November 20th with the 84th annual Milwaukee Holiday Parade. Featuring more than 100 units of entertainment, including lavish floats, huge character balloons, live animals, bands and, of course, Santa Claus, the 2010 event marks Johnson Controls’ eighth year as title sponsor and coincides with the company’s 125th anniversary. Despite the festive atmosphere of the annual parade and anniversary celebration, it is more than simply a time to make merry; it’s also an opportunity to support those in need.

In September, figures released by the U.S. Census Bureau listed Milwaukee as the fourth poorest city in the nation. This statistic aligns with an increased need for food donations among the city’s food pantries and homeless shelters. For that reason, the 2010 Milwaukee Holiday Parade will again incorporate Johnson Controls’ sponsorship of Food for Families, a program of Hunger Task Force. Parade-goers are encouraged to bring a nonperishable food donation, which will be collected by some of the more than 200 employee and family volunteers from Johnson Controls’ Community Involvement Program (CIP). As CIP volunteers, Johnson Controls employees support numerous non-profit organizations in the community through the annual donation of several thousand hours.

“All of us at Johnson Controls are particularly excited about this year’s Milwaukee Holiday Parade – a festive way to cap off our 125th anniversary with our great community in what has always been our home town. Much has changed throughout society over the years, but one factor has remained consistent – the existence of those less fortunate,” said Mary Dowell, director of community relations at Johnson Controls. “Continuing with our joint sponsorship of the Milwaukee Holiday Parade and Food for Families, we’re optimistic that the community will again respond enthusiastically to our plea for nonperishable food donations. If each of the 100,000 parade attendees brought just one can, we could halt the food crisis in Milwaukee this winter.”

“We’ve already seen local charities run out of resources, so it’s an understatement to say donations are needed,” notes Sherrie Tussler, executive director of Hunger Task Force. “Since Johnson Controls first combined their sponsorship of the Milwaukee Holiday Parade with Food for Families, we’ve seen a steady increase in nonperishable food donations along the parade route. We’ve come to depend on this generosity to help Milwaukee’s hungry. More than 10,000 pounds of food were donated at the 2009 parade. We’re hopeful that record will be surpassed this year.”

Johnson Controls’ float will bear its 125th year theme, “Honoring Our Past – Inspired by Our Future,” featuring Charles Dickens imagery, accompanied by its oldest and newest employees. In true vintage style, the parade will also feature a 1911 Johnson One Ton Stake Truck motoring alongside a Johnson Controls Ford Escape Plug-in Hybrid Electric vehicle.

Simon Davis, Johnson Controls’ vice president of human resources – Power Solutions, will be grand marshal of the 84th annual Milwaukee Holiday Parade. Davis, along with his wife, Cathy, and children, Sam, Jack and Holly, will lead the parade route by carriage. Davis is no stranger to the Milwaukee Holiday Parade. Just last year, he and his family escorted one of the character balloons along the parade route.

The Milwaukee Holiday Parade, which has been produced by the DeGrace family for more than 50 years, will begin at the corner of Kilbourn and Prospect Avenues. The parade will continue west on Kilbourn and turn south on Old World Third, ending in front of the Shops at Grand Avenue at approximately 11 a.m. More information, including a detailed parade map, is available at

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