West Lincoln Santa Claus parade ‘bringing back the spirit and the light of the season’

The dark days of late autumn will be a little brighter this year, thanks to the return of the West Lincoln Santa Claus Parade.

The parade, which will be held on Nov. 26, is the first in-person parade since the pandemic started, and the organizers are hoping to bring back the spirit and light of the season.

The theme for this year is “merry and bright,” and the parade will be held during the evening. The organizing committee is encouraging the participants to cover their floats with light to create a bright display.

“(We’ll) make West Lincoln shine from one side to the other,” said William Reilly, council liaison member to the committee.

The parade will start at 5 p.m. at West Lincoln Community Centre and will make its way down Industrial Park Road.

There are currently over 40 entries planned for the parade, including the fire department, Home Hardware, Lincoln County Humane Society and the West Lincoln Chamber of Commerce. Spots are still available for those wanting to enter the parade.

Organizers also hinted that a light aircraft might also be turned into a makeshift float, bedecked with merry lights.

“It will really elevate the parade,” said Reilly.

Music will be provided by bands, including the Top Hats, the Niagara Military Band and the Grimsby Pipe Band.

Residents are encouraged to bring a toonie for the “toonies for toys” program, organized by the West Lincoln Chamber of Commerce and West Lincoln Community Care. The fire department will also be collecting food.

The Stanpac float will be giving away free hot chocolate at the start of the parade.

But the festivities don’t end with the parade. From 7 to 8 p.m., there will be a free public skate session at the community centre.

The organizers are thrilled to have the parade back on the streets after a difficult few years, and hope it will bring the community back together.

“I’m really excited,” said Nicole Louise, chair of the committee. “Our community has been pretty divided through COVID. I’m really looking forward to coming together and celebrating as a community.”

This will also be the first in-person parade since the previous, long-standing committee resigned following the sudden passing of previous committee chair Dave Willis in 2019.

The 2019 parade was held in honour of Willis, who ran and organized the parade for many years.

Reilly said that the previous committee then felt it was time to pass the reins to the next generation of volunteers in 2020.

The new committee wanted to put on a parade to honour Willis’ legacy, but COVID restrictions stopped that.

Last year, they held a drive-through parade, but now the parade is back to normal and the committee is keen to hit the ground running.

“(We’re) bringing back the spirit and the light of the season,” said Reilly.

More information, including details on how to enter the parade or to sponsor, can be found at wlparade.com.

Chris Pickles, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Grimsby Lincoln News