COLD LAKE - The big man in the red suit and his reindeers will be making a stop in the City of Cold Lake.
The city is keeping one of their Christmas traditions alive by hosting its annual Santa Claus Parade on Nov. 27. It will start at 6 p.m.
The route will look a little different this time around for Old St. Nick and all of the floats participating.
“We’ve extended the route to help with social distancing and to keep everyone safe,” explained Heather Miller, recreation programs and services manager for the city. “The parade will start at 55th St. The staging area happens in front of the fire station and it will come along 50th Ave. and go all the way down until 45th St. We’ve added a lot of lengths in there so there’s lots of room for everybody.”
Candy will be handed out during the event, but it must be passed out to willing participants by those in the parade. The city is encouraging those handing out sweets to take precautions to ensure their hands remain sanitized.
Social distancing between households is encouraged, which Miller noted was the reason for the longer route.
“We also ask that they wear masks if they cannot physical distance from other people,” she added. “It will be cold out, so masks might be easier to help keep you warm.”
Miller stressed those feeling ill or who have COVID-19 symptoms shouldn’t come out to watch or sign up to be a part of a float. A new feature this year will allow those staying home to still enjoy the festivities. The city will be live streaming the parade through their social media platforms.
“We’re excited for that because it gives you just that little bit more peace of mind if you’re not feeling well or maybe you have symptoms and you wanted to come and try anyways, this just gives you another way to do it, to be part of it, and enjoy it,” adding it also allows people participating to go back and see what they missed.
“For those who are in it, they can go back and watch it afterward because there’s a copy of it. You can see yourself after.”
Due to the way 2020 has gone, ensuring the Santa Claus Parade would go ahead was important for Miller.
“I run the programming side with the city here and our programs just haven’t gone on. It’s a sad time for us, we understand it and support COVID-19 and the protocols in place and following the guidelines and that kind of thing, but when you’re passionate about the programming side, it’s hard not to have them,” she noted. “The Santa Claus Parade is one for us to bring a little bit of normalcy back into the community, it’s probably our only Christmas type event this year, so we wanted to make sure that we did it safely and responsibly so people could at least have something and they get to see Santa.”
Anyone interested in signing up for a float is asked to register by Wednesday, Nov. 25.
Miller encouraged everyone to participate because ‘it’s something to look forward to.’
“We’re aware that it's different this year with COVID-19, we’re aware that we had to have a longer route because of it, and we’re aware that people may not come out because there’s the potential of those social distancing concerns,” she continued. “We’re aware of all that so even for the people that are participating in the parade, we’re going to live stream it so people can see it at home and just kind of bring the excitement and joy.”
Forms are available at the Cold Lake Energy Centre or online at coldlake.com. Once filled out, they can be handed in at the Energy Centre or to email@example.com.