Santa Claus Parade returns after two years
On Nov. 19th, the infamous Santa Claus parade returned to the streets of Kitchener after two years of COVID-19 restrictions altering the delivery of the parade.
Marching along Weber Street, from Frederick Street to Erb Street, many Kitchener/Waterloo residents came out to watch the ensemble of decorated floats, marching bands, and of course, Santa Claus, parade by.
“This parade is a longstanding tradition in Kitchener, and there were a lot of people that were happy that we had a parade this year,” Erhard Kruger, the immediate past president of the Lions Club of Kitchener said.
This parade was especially important because the Santa Claus parade has not been able to function to its full capacity since COVID-19 began.
“We did a reverse parade, and were the first, certainly in Ontario, that tried this concept. We took our floats, parked them and a few others, and people drove by instead of us driving by,” he said.
Although there was a lot of required planning and work to do the reverse parade amidst the difficulties COVID-19 restrictions imposed, there is also a lot of hard-work that goes into organizing the parade to its full extent.
“It is a grand collective effort, and part of it is logistics––not only the physical things: the floats, website and forms, but things like: did you book the school? Did you book the lunches for the volunteers to show appreciation? Did you get the road permits? Did you book the police? Did you have a fire ambulance ready?” Kruger said.
Additionally, there was planning for the return of live music and bands.
“Another logistics example is getting some bands involved, and bands have to coordinate themselves––that’s a logistic puzzle right there. They have to get a bus, arrive at a certain spot, and get all warmed up on a frigid cold day, but they get the numbers of people out,” he said.
With all of this planning involved and over 120 volunteers, the first parade on Saturday went smoothly, and there are several more parades scheduled ahead of the holidays in Guelph, Cambridge, Hesper, Brantford, Elora, Fergus, Ayr, Rockwood, New Hamburg and Georgetown.
“The parade is a community building project, and we do it for the community, to serve the community,” Kruger said.
The Lions Club members will begin planning the parade for November and December of 2023. To sign up for volunteering, click here http://lionsclubofkitchener.com/1343-2/
“If you just walk just a little bit down the road, and get involved with the community in one aspect or another, it really helps––it’s a different way of networking when you just volunteer for one organization or another,” he said.