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P.E.I. health office approves inverted Santa Claus parade for Summerside

Santa Claus visits Summerside Nov. 22 at the annual Santa Claus parade.
Santa Claus visits Summerside during the annual Santa Claus Parade on Nov. 22, 2019. - Alison Jenkins/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. —

Instead of floats passing by the residents of Summerside, this year's Santa Claus parade will have the residents passing by the floats.

"It's the complete opposite of how a normal parade would go," Coun. Barb Ramsay said during a Summerside committees meeting at city hall on Oct. 6.

Seeing as the COVID-19 pandemic would prevent large gatherings from lining the city's sidewalks, Ramsay outlined this year’s plan for what she called a "backwards" parade. The plan was recently approved by P.E.I.'s chief public health office, so the parade is a go for late November. 

The idea to have the floats remain stationary rather than the viewing public was inspired by a similar initiative in New Brunswick that allows for the event to take place while ensuring social distancing protocols are adhered to, Ramsay said.

Summerside councillor Barb Ramsay spoke during council's regular meeting at city hall on Sept. 21. - Daniel Brown/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Summerside councillor Barb Ramsay spoke during council's regular meeting at city hall on Sept. 21. - Daniel Brown/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Some roads along the route will be closed on the day of the parade, and volunteers will be posted along the route to direct drivers. Walking along the sidewalk also won't be permitted during the time of the parade.

In addition, unlike previous parades, floats will not be allowed to toss out treats due to the danger it may cause, Ramsay said.

Coun. Justin Doiron noted that even though resident's will be driving slowly, measures should be taken to ensure those driving vehicles keep their eyes on the road – not just on the floats.

"We're notorious for tailgating in the city," he said. "It's bound to happen."


PARADE PLAN:

  • This year’s Santa Claus parade in Summerside will start at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 27.
  • Residents will gather in their vehicles at Credit Union Place in Summerside before heading down Greenwood Drive. They'll then drive along Water Street, starting at Green Shore Park and ending near one of the city's welcome signs near the Heather Moyse Drive intersection.
  • That being said, the route may have to be extended depending on how many floats register for the parade, said Summerside councillor Barb Ramsay.

The parade will be organized by Summerside's Fire Department, and residents are invited to make donations in support of families who need food throughout the Christmas season.

The City of Charlottetown also normally has a Christmas parade in late November, but no one with the municipality is commenting yet on what the plan is this year.

"The City of Charlottetown is working on modified plans for its holiday programming, taking into consideration guidance and restrictions established by the Chief Public Health Office,'' the city said in an email sent to The Guardian through its communications staff. 

"The city's tourism and events management team is hoping to be in a position to announce programming later this month."

Daniel Brown is a local journalism initiative reporter, a position funded by the federal government.

Twitter.com/dnlbrown95

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