Everybody loves a parade. I have no idea where that saying originates, but I definitely agree with it.
People line the streets in all kinds of weather to watch colorful floats, marching bands, baton twirlers, dancers, and horse-drawn carriages pass by. They talk to strangers standing nearby and watch the faces and reactions of other spectators as the procession winds along its course.
I’ve seen many parades, some marking holidays such as Christmas, Thanksgiving or Canada Day and others staged by service clubs at annual conventions. I’ve never been disappointed by any that I’ve seen.
One of my favourites was a Shriners’ parade that I came upon by accident in Sudbury many years ago. It was one of the longest processions I have ever witnessed as well as one of the best.
Despite the many that I have attended over the years, I had never seen a nighttime parade until moving to this part of the province. Like many others, I quickly became a die-hard fan of the Flamborough Santa Claus Parade, not just because of its magical, light-covered floats, talented marching bands and impressive horse-drawn wagons, but also because of the seamless symmetry exhibited by a well-organized and skillfully executed parade – in other words, few, if any, gaps between entries.
Most of us expect a parade to run like clockwork; few of us think of the many hours it takes to decorate a float, sign up entries and sponsors, coordinate road closures and make sure everything runs without a hitch. In Flamborough, we are blessed to have a faithful parade committee composed of 10 core volunteers, who work long hours to present a parade that we all enjoy.
It is a testament to their skill and dedication that the Flamborough Santa Claus Parade draws thousands of spectators from near and far. Last year, the crowd was estimated at nearly 60,000. That’s a phenomenal accomplishment for a small community.
The parade is celebrating its 17th year this Saturday, but there’s a dark cloud hanging over it because there’s a very real possibility that this year could be its last. Why? The cost of staging it has become too much for a small non-profit committee to bear.
It costs $35,000 to put it on and although money dropped by parade watchers into the Loonie Bins along the parade route nets about $5,000 each year, there’s a need to dig deeper into our pockets to make sure a fine tradition doesn’t die. It’s time to step up and drop some $5, $10 and $20 bills into the bins. If we don’t, we risk losing something very precious.
When you think of it, $20 a year isn’t all that much especially when it provides such dividends.
Just look at the excitement bubbling from the faces of the children as they watch the parade, especially when Santa appears on his sleigh.
What’s it worth to you?