Better not cry, better not pout. Santa Claus Parade is not coming to town

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Organizers of Vancouver's Santa Claus Parade say the annual Christmas tradition that draws hundreds of thousands of spectators each year to the downtown core will not be going ahead this season.

In a statement Thursday, the parade society said after months of exploring alternate formats that would allow the parade to go ahead in some way, organizers have cancelled the popular Christmas spectacle due to COVID-19 public health restrictions on large gatherings.

"The health and safety of our participants and spectators will always be our highest priority," said parade producer Elyse Gawley.

For 16 years, the annual event has attracted crowds of approximately 300,000 people to the city's downtown core to watch marching bands, choirs, float entries and community groups performing along the 1.8 kilometre route..

The parade regularly helps raise money through donations to some of the Lower Mainland's most vulnerable groups, supported by organizations such as the Greater Vancouver Food Bank and local charities that help children living with physical, mental and social challenges in B.C.

Other parade day events are also cancelled, including the Breakfast with Santa at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Christmas Square pre-parade entertainment and the photo op with Santa Claus himself at Telus Garden.

"Our hope is to return in 2021, when we can better ensure the health and safety of everyone involved," Gawley said.