The COVID-19 pandemic won't stop Santa Claus from visiting the Windsor-Essex region this year.
The first of three regional drive-through Santa Claus Parades organized by the Windsor Parade Corporation is set to take place tomorrow in Kingsville Ont.
"We believe as a board that it was important for Santa to still, you know, make it out to these communities. We're excited to be able to do it and somewhat terrified at the same time, because we've never done a parade like this," said Maggie Durocher, organizer with the Windsor Parade Corporation.
The Kingsville, Windsor, and Amherstburg events are a "reverse" take on the annual Santa Claus Parade put on by Windsor Parade Corporation each year.
Durocher said her organization, along with the Windsor-Essex County Health Unit, have been preparing to rework the annual event in a way that's safe for the community amid the COVID-19 pandemic for months.
"Our volunteers have been in the warehouse since July and I'm so glad for them that we're able to pull these parades off because they've just been working their hearts out, upgrading our floats and making sure that they look to their absolute best for this year," she said.
Last weekend in London Ont., a reverse Santa Claus parade took place, but was met with mixed reviews as many attendees waited in line to experience the event.
Durocher said a plan is in place to avoid traffic back ups like the one in London, and added the short route of the parade should aid with the flow of the event.
"We are asking cars and families to gather at Kingsville District High School and they'll be cued in to the parade from there because the last thing I want is a backup of traffic all the way to Lemington," she said.
Durocher said it's important for attendees to be patient the night of the event, and that they should take advantage of the three hour time slot. She said community members can always attend one of the other regional parades if Kingsville gets too busy.
The Kingsville parade will take place from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. on November 21, beginning at the intersection of Main St. and Spruce St.
What to expect at the first ever drive-through Santa Claus parade in Kingsville:
Organizers are asking vehicles to gather at Kingsville District High School to be cued into the parade to avoid backup of traffic
Families have to check in at the start of the parade route, and will receive a entertainment program
There will be a scavenger hunt for kids to participate in which will have them look for items on parade floats
Vehicles can tune in to 90.1 FM to listen to Santa Claus on the parade route
Organizers are asking the public to be patient, and to stager parade visits during the three hour time slot
A number of volunteers in golf carts will be en route to keep traffic moving through the parade
The Amherstburg Santa Claus Parade will take place November 28 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., and the Windsor parade will take place December 5 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.
The annual Essex Santa Claus Parade has been postponed to 2021.