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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Santa Claus visits Leamington

by Garrett Fodor

As the days get colder and the calendar quickly approaches December, winter holiday excitement and joy begin to fill the air.

  As the snow began to fall on Saturday night, local families gathered at Point Pelee National Park for a chance to see Santa Claus, as part of the Leamington Community Christmas Parade. Following last year’s adaptations to the usual parade format, organizers continued and improved upon their drive-through parade.

  Unlike the traditional parade of years past, and for the second year in a row, residents have been invited to go to Point Pelee to take part in the drive-through parade. In order to adhere to public safety measures, attendees got to sit in the comfort of their warm cars, while admiring the floats, scenery of the Park, along with catching a glimpse of the noteable man in red.

  “We started planning in August, so there were a lot of factors at play and it was quite the planning process,” Wendy Parsons said, who is the General Manager of the Leamington District Chamber of Commerce. “It’s such a unique backdrop at Point Pelee and just how many people can say they were able to attend a Christmas Parade at a National Park? It’s something new and we’re continuing to improve upon it and get people into the spirit.”

  Parsons said this year’s parade featured nearly 30 different floats spread throughout Point Pelee, including three different bands from the region. She added she is grateful for all of the sponsors and volunteers who stepped up to help make the event possible. According to Parsons, there were 80 volunteers and several local businesses that donated assets and goods to the parade to help make it possible.

  “The best thing is to see the kids’ faces – when they come up in the vehicles – pressed against the windows, because they don’t want to miss a second,” Mike Diab said, who is a volunteer for in the parade. “The event is about spreading joy, bringing the community together, giving back, and giving the gift of happiness. That’s why we do this.”

  The parade, while bringing the community together, also has the community giving back to one-another. The festivity featured Canada Post collecting letters to Santa, representatives from Toys for Tots collecting gift donations, and the Salvation Army collecting non-perishable food donations at the end of the event. 

  Parsons described this night as a magical event. She is grateful for the community support for the event and for everyone’s part in getting into the holiday spirit. 


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