Santa Claus is coming to town
By: Matt Durnan
| Posted: Thursday, Dec 05, 2013 10:58 am
Santa Claus is coming to town once again. On Dec. 7 Main Street will be shut down at 4:30 p.m. to welcome the big guy in the red suit for a second consecutive year at the Airdrie Santa Claus Parade, which kicks off at 5 p.m. on Main Street just south of Veterans Boulevard.
The event that had been defunct for six years, returned to Airdrie in 2012 and this year promises to be bigger than the year previous, with a route that is nearly double in length and with an increase in the number of floats from 22 in 2012 to more than 30 this year.
An assortment of community groups and commercial businesses will be taking part in the parade with float entries to promote their organizations and companies, while providing entertainment to those who line Main Street to catch a glimpse of Santa.
Stewart McLeish, chair of the Airdrie Parades and Fireworks Committee, says the event is aimed at fostering community relationships.
“This used to be a very small and close-knit town, but with how fast the city is growing that’s kind of been lost,” said McLeish.
“This parade was brought back to promote community awareness and rekindle that feeling.”
Money to run the parade is raised through entry fees for organizations with floats in the parade; non-profit organizations pay $25 per entry, while commercial businesses pay $75.
“Our intent for the future is to secure some sponsorship so that we can reduce the cost for our participants,” said McLeish.
“All of the money we make goes back in to our operating expenses; our biggest expense is to promote the event and put out advertisements.”
The Parades Committee has received a great deal of support from the City according to McLeish; the RCMP and Sheriffs Department will be patrolling barricades along the nearly two kilometre route.
The Airdrie Fire Department will be pulling double duty on parade day, ensuring the safety of those in the parade and on the sidelines, while also taking part in the festivities.
“We’ll have trucks set up strategically along the route to ensure that it’s a safe event for everyone involved,” said Deputy Chief Garth Rabel.
“We want to ensure that emergency response is still up to standard; life doesn’t stop when these types of events are going on.”
The Fire Department also plays an integral role as parade participants as they will be acting as a chariot for Santa himself.
“We’ll have one of our trucks with the lights and sirens on for Santa to either ride on or walk beside,” said Rabel. “It’s his choice really, he is Santa after all.”
McLeish is advising that those who attend the parade dress warm. City Hall will be open from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. for people to come inside and get warm.
The Airdrie Public Library will be open from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and will have activities inside.
The Airdrie Lioness Club will be selling hot chocolate during the parade; more than 20 volunteers from organizations like the Airdrie Lions Club and Citizens on Patrol will be helping to escort floats and ensure the event runs smoothly.
Main Street will be closed from 4:30 p.m. until half an hour after the parade concludes. The route runs past Urgent Care, which will remain open. The curb lane closest to the Urgent Care Centre, between First Avenue and Ridgegate Way SW will be blocked off to ensure access.