BONNYVILLE – Making his way from the North Pole, Old St. Nicholas is set to make one more stop in the Town of Bonnyville this December.
On Friday, Dec. 10, the master toy maker will take part in the Town’s first reverse parade, where Christmas floats will remain stationary in the Bonnyville and District Centennial Centre (C2) parking lot from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.
The static parade will allow for families to stay toasty and warm in their vehicles as they drive past the festive displays.
“It was important to us to ensure that Santa was able to make a visit to Bonnyville to visit all of the good boys and girls and for him to do so safely,” said parade organizer Doreen Kushnir.
Float and parade participants will line up along the west side of the C2, up to the back of the Field House.
Santa’s helpers will be handing out candy canes and hot chocolate at the end of the route. They will also be accepting toy donations for Santa’s Elves and non-perishable food items for the Bonnyville food bank.
Robynne Henry, the Town’s communications coordinator, explained, “Families are permitted to walk around the displays. We just ask that they be careful around the cars as it will be dark at the time of the parade and that they stay with their family unit.”
Henry added, “Typically, it gets pretty cold around that time of the year so we figured people would prefer to stay warm in their cars.”
For groups interested in registering a float for the Santa Claus Parade, they have until Dec. 2 to submit registration forms.
There is no charge to enter a float in the parade or cost to people taking in the holiday display.
“We invite organizations, groups, sports teams, schools, and families to make this parade a success,” said Kushnir.
Each group will be socially distanced from one another and organizers ask that participants in the parade remain in their designated section for the duration of the parade.
Participants will not be permitted to throw candy, however, handouts will be allowed.
“Due to the parade happening at night, we always encourage those participating to put lots of lights on their floats,” Kushnir noted.
Kushnir encourages community members to participate in the event and to swing by to see Santa Claus.
“We’re excited for Santa to come back to town and, hopefully, everyone else is too,” she said.
Registration forms to take part in the parade can be dropped off at the Town of Bonnyville Administration office, faxed to 780-826-4806, or emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Last year, the Town of Bonnyville had planned to move forward with a reverse parade to accommodate provincial health measure, but when guidelines changed in late November, restricting outdoor gatherings to 10 people, the municipality along with the City of Cold Lake had to cancel their annual parades.
The Bonnyville Santa Claus Parade is going ahead following the current provincial COVID-19 regulations. If public health measures change, the event could be affected.