Santa Claus may be coming to town as usual come December 24, but he’s unlikely to be making the usual pre-Christmas stops for the variety of parades in his honour. He can add the St. Clements event to the growing list of activities cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus situation.
The parade committee there had been discussing for months how to proceed given the lockdown and ongoing concerns about the virus, finally making the decision to cancel this year’s outing.
“We were debating, checking to see how long this COVID is going to last. But now it has gotten down to a crunch, so, we’ve decided to cancel,” said committee president Paul Hergott.
Though the community is small, the annual Santa Claus parade is a good one, he noted. Typically held just a week ahead of Christmas, it’s a very seasonal offering among the variety of parades, many of which are held well in advance of Santa’s big day.
As of now, the plan is to put off the parade until next year or when it’s safe to do so, Hergott explained, noting the parade sponsors are supportive of the committee’s decision.
In addition to the sponsorships, the parade committee also collects donations in at a booth in the park where they sell hot dogs and hot apple cider.
While Christmas is still a few months off, the St. Clements decision wasn’t the first parade cancellation. Orangeville, for instance, made the same announcement in mid-June, while Guelph and Kitchener arrived at that conclusion last week. Now there is much debate over whether or not the Toronto Santa Claus parade should follow suit. That event is a massive one that sees roughly a million people waiting to see Santa.
There has been no update on some others such as the Elmira parade at this point.
Some organizations are looking at alternatives such as virtual parades, drive-in adaptations or other social-distancing measures, though the logistics remain an issue.