A Santa Claus parade for the history books

cjos santa claus

In decades to come, kids who grew up in Owen Sound will be able to tell the story about the year 2020 when a pandemic raged across the globe and they attended a Santa Claus parade like no other.  

This year marks the 75th annual Kiwanis Santa Claus parade and it will certainly be one for the books. 

"The Santa Claus parade is one of our favourite events to put on," said Kiwanis President Andrew Drury.   "We love being a part of holiday spirit and our members, parade participants, sponsors, and volunteers together put on something special for families to enjoy.   We couldn't imagine not having a parade, but we did have to re-imagine what that may look like."

Kiwanis member and Parade Chair Tim Brown told Dock News they didn't want to cancel it, not only because it was a special year for the event but also because so much has already been canceled with kids missing out on so much. 

He says they worked with the Grey Bruce Health Unit to look at different options and decided a greatly scaled back, stationery parade was the way to go.  

It means the floats will remain in place while the cars full of families file past them. 

The only place in town with enough room for that is the Harry Lumley Bayshore parking lot.  

Brown says the floats will line up along the water side of the parking lot while the vehicles will enter the lot from the western most entrance to ensure smooth traffic flow.  

The 'drive through parade' will allow for one-way traffic only, entering the Bayshore Community Centre on 18th Street East off 2nd Avenue West.   

Participants must stay in their cars.   

Unfortunately there will be no pedestrian access to the parade. 

Because they had to limit participants to less than 100 to meet current health guidelines, there will be fewer than a dozen floats this year but Brown says Santa's sleigh will still be the highlight at the end of the parade. 

The other change is that they're holding it at night this year. 

The parade will start at 7pm on Saturday, November 21 and run until at least 9pm or Brown says until cars stop filing past.  

Those without access to a vehicle can use the free shuttle that will run between the downtown bus terminal on 3rd Ave East and the Bayshore throughout the evening. 

Space is limited to 10 passengers at a time and masks must be worn. 

They'll also have postal workers there again collecting letters to Santa while the Salvation Army will also accept non perishable food items for their food bank. 

"Our Club remains focused on supporting this community in many different ways," added Andrew Drury.   "Though it may be a little difficult and a little different, we're going to make sure we do it as best we can.  We will absolutely miss the usual parade, but we'll be back to that faster if we continue to respect Public Health directives and do these things safely."


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