Photo courtesy of Stewart McLeish
life in the moment | community spirit
Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus Parade
t has taken a lot of faith and even more work to bring a community tradition back to life. Airdrie’s Santa Claus parade, which ran in 2012 for the first time in six years, is set to roll down Main Street again this year, thanks to the efforts of a group of community members who were willing to step up to the plate. The newly revived yuletide event has its roots in an annual summer celebration. In May 2012, the longtime organizers of the Canada Day parade had to pull out because of a lack of volunteers, so the City of Airdrie stepped in and put out a call for volunteers. As a result, a committee came together and, with support and direction from the former organizer, managed to get the parade up and running. “The committee was made up of a group of dedicated Airdrie people and a core group of City [of Airdrie] people,” says committee member Stewart McLeish. Because of the Canada Day success, Mayor Peter Brown suggested bringing the Santa Claus parade back to life, and the plans began for a parade for that year. Thanks to the dedication of the committee and plenty of time and effort from the volunteers, the Santa Claus parade 2012 was also a hit, with 25 floats and many thousands of people in attendance.
36 airdrielife.com | winter 2013/14
“It was quite amazing,” McLeish says.“We thought it was very successful. We got lots of positive comments.” While the event did not go off without a hitch, it was a learning experience for the committee, and plans began for 2013.“We’re learning parade by parade,” McLeish says. During the following six months, the City presence on the committee lessened, with decision-making for both parades becoming a responsibility of the volunteers. Canada Day 2013 was another stellar success, and now McLeish and his fellow committee members are eagerly looking forward to December. “We’re excited to be putting it all together,” he says. This year’s Santa Claus parade will be held Dec. 7, 5-6:30 p.m. The parade will start at Fletcher Park and proceed south down Main Street to Ridgegate Way. Both City Hall and Airdrie Public Library will be open, so parade-goers can warm up and use the public restrooms. The Lions Club will be organizing the staging and 20 floats had preregistered by the end of October – but McLeish says that more floats, sponsors and volunteers are always welcome. Community response to the tradition’s return has also been positive.