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IN PHOTOS: Better late than never for Charlottetown Christmas Parade

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. - Santa was both a month early and about half an hour late when he visited Charlottetown on Saturday.

A delay in the start time and freezing temperatures didn’t deter thousands of spectators from the 20th annual Charlottetown Christmas Parade.

While it was scheduled to leave UPEI on University Avenue at 5 p.m., it did not depart until roughly 5:35 p.m. which left many spectators wondering what caused the hold-up.

City of Charlottetown tourism officer Laurel Lea said city police and the public works department secure the parade route and radio ahead when the route is fully secure and clear of all traffic.

“For whatever reason this year there was some additional challenges with securing that route and it took a little longer than we expected so we will be doing a debrief in the coming days just to discuss what went on and how we can address that moving forward,” she said.

“At this time I don’t have any concrete details of exactly what went on.”

Despite the delay, a majority of spectators stuck around to see the live nativity scene, a jailed Grinch, and Star Wars characters covered in Christmas lights, which were just a few of the festive sights at this year’s parade.

The parade also saw Canada Post workers accepting letters for Santa, while volunteers collected donations for the food bank.

Corey Watts of Pleasant Grove has taken his children to the parade since it started.

He took his eldest son Tristan the inaugural year of the parade and was there on Saturday with his two youngest children Lacey, 15, and Eric, 7.

“I haven’t missed a parade yet,” he said. “It brings everybody together all at once.”

Santa also had a special guest in his sleigh this year.

“Mrs. Claus was able to slip down from the North Pole and keep Santa company last night,” said Lea.

This is the second year the city held the parade, the Christmas tree lighting, and the Victorian Christmas Market together in one festive-filled Victorian Christmas Weekend.

“It really does make for a magical start to the holiday season,” said Lea. “We found last year when we paired everything together it served for a wonderful kick-off so we were happy to continue that this year.”

There were 95 entries in this year’s parade. Four awards will be announced on Monday for best first-time entry, best holiday spirit, kid’s choice, and best firetruck.

First-place in each category will win a $50 donation to a charity of their choice.

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