Instead of the Santa Claus parade coming to the people, the people will have to come to the parade this year.
The floats will be parked along the route – which begins at the Credit Union Place and ends at Heather Moyse Drive – with spectators driving by.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Summerside fire chief Ron Enman – whose department is organizing this year’s event – knew a traditional parade would not be possible.
“2020 has been an awful year,” Enman said. “I think just the fact that they can do something as a family, it’s going to be a little bit of excitement.”
- This year, no candy will be given to spectators.
- Spectators can’t walk the route, but the Boys and Girls club has a shuttle available at the Credit Union Place for pedestrians.
- A Toonie Drive will be located on Rufus Street, with proceeds going to Lennon House and Island Pregnancy Centre Summerside.
Enman got the idea for what he calls a “reverse parade” in early September, after hearing that Moncton had similar plans.
Before making any final decisions on the event, the fire department had to get approval from the province. Angie Arsenault, a member of the Santa Claus committee, helped put together a proposal outlining the plan, which was approved by P.E.I.’s chief public health office.
When driving the route in a vehicle, spectators are not required to wear masks. Social distancing requirements, though, mean spectators cannot get out of their cars when driving through the parade.
What’s the route?
- Begin at the Credit Union Place parking lot.
- South on Rufus Street.
- Left onto Water Street.
- End at Heather Moyse Drive.
Each float is considered its own group, and there will be 18 feet between each float. There will also be social distancing in place while they get ready at the Credit Union Place before the start of the parade.
Enman said that they’ve received more than $10,000 from sponsorships. The money raised went to the Saint Eleanor’s Lion’s Club, Kinsmen’s Club of Summerside, and the Salvation Army.
“The response has been amazing from the business community,” said Enman.
Corey Arsenault, owner of Stretch Fitness in Summerside, said he’s just glad to have a parade this year.
“I’m a big believer in that if the alternative is no parade, we’ll do anything we can do have a parade,” he said.
Stretch Fitness has had a float in the parade every year since 2011.
Arsenault said that having floats parked might be easier than driving them, since he doesn’t have to tie things down to avoid getting blown away by the wind.
“It’s great the community’s still having it,” he said. “As much as 2020 has been all about things getting locked down or not happening, it’s nice to still have events we can do for families.”
The Santa Claus parade will take place Nov. 27, from 6 to 8 p.m.