Huntsville’s annual kickoff to Christmas, the Santa Claus Parade, returns on Friday, November 29. The Santa Claus Parade has been hosted by the Rotary Club of North Muskoka for more than a decade.
“Our Rotary theme this year was ‘Rotary connects the world’ so we wanted to bring that theme into the parade, so we’ve called this year’s parade ‘Joy to the World'”, said club president Cara Scheidel. “There’s a lot to be thankful about around the holidays and it’s important to focus on that and all of the joy that Christmas can bring.”
The parade will follow its usual route down Main Street and King William Street from Centre Street to Huntsville Place Mall.
“There have been rumours around town that the parade route was changed but it will be the exact same as it always is,” said Scheidel. “We can’t promise it will be a totally bump-free ride due to the construction but all of the large holes will be filled.”
‘Saint Nick’ will be this year’s parade marshal in order to ensure that the parade is running smoothly and safely.
“Safety is our number one concern for the parade with spectators, volunteers and folks on the floats so we ask that everyone is aware of the parade route and plans their night accordingly,” said Scheidel.
Floats will be handing out treats and candy to kids throughout the parade. The Green Team will be there again, as well, to clean up garbage that has been thrown on the ground, and they are encouraging people to be mindful of their waste.
Two bands will be playing throughout the parade―the Cameron of Lochiel Pipes and Drums and the Corrections Services Band from Bracebridge―for parade-goers to enjoy.
Last year many attendees also enjoyed the generosity of downtown businesses that offered free hot drinks while they watched the show. This year those stops include hot chocolate at Coldwell Banker Thompson Real Estate, and hot chocolate and apple cider at The Hudson Hair Salon.
Sadly due to the construction, sponsorship numbers are down significantly. The Rotary Club encourages businesses to get in touch as soon as possible if they want to participate―parade sponsorships are $100 and businesses can enter a float in the parade if they wish. You’ll find sponsorship information here.
The club will also provide sponsoring businesses with signs that read ‘We Believe in Santa―Proud Supporters of the Santa Claus Parade 2019’. Contact Rotary here to get your sign.
The Rotary Club donates proceeds from the parade to local children’s programs such as Helping Hungry Students at Huntsville High School, The Table Soup Kitchen Foundation, the Simcoe Muskoka Family Connexions kids-to-camp program and more.
“We’re all always so excited to see what wonderful floats come out every year. We usually have around over 50 floats which shows the community’s amazing enthusiasm and Christmas spirit,” said Scheidel.
Main Street from Lorne Street to Young Street will close at 5 p.m. so that floats can line up. People are encouraged not to park on Main Street after 6:30 p.m. so the parade can start on time. The parade begins at 7 p.m. and finishes at around 8:00 when the last float goes by.
While you wait for the parade to begin, look for the Downtown Huntsville BIA tree-lighting on the Town Hall steps at 6:30 p.m.
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