The Parade of Lights is one of West Nipissing’s most anticipated yearly events, drawing quite a crowd from all over the municipality to see brightly lit floats and catch a glimpse of Santa Claus himself. This year’s event did not disappoint. In fact, it was one of the largest ones in a decade.
The parade is always held on the first Friday of December, leaving the SF Complex grounds around 6:30 pm and making its way downtown around 7:30 pm, lighting up the evening sky. Despite cold rainy weather, hundreds of people lined the streets all along the parade route.
“It was a great success on our end! We ended up with 40 floats in the parade, which is the second most floats we’ve had in the past 10 years. It was so nice to see all the smiles, the excitement and energy in both the participants and the crowds. We couldn’t have asked for a better turnout,” exclaims Catherine Levac-Lafond, Community Development Officer for West Nipissing.
Indeed, the parade was so long it took nearly a full hour just to get through the downtown core of Sturgeon Falls.
True to the name, it really was a parade full of bright lights as floats were beautifully decorated by businesses and community organisations across all of West Nipissing. Though they weren’t allowed to hand out candy in the parade due to safety and liability concerns, some local businesses along King Street did have their doors open for people to come warm up and grab a cup of hot chocolate or some cookies.
In the final float sat the star of the event with his big red suit, white beard, and “Ho Ho Hos”. Santa Claus himself waved to the crowd, wishing all very happy holidays as he passed by. This was his first appearance of the year, and one of many more to come before Christmas arrives.