The Santa Claus parade will make its way up Innisfil Beach Road Nov. 26.
Organized by Innisfil Community Events (ICE) and sponsored, in part, by San Diego Homes, this year’s theme is Christmas Around the World.
The parade will begin at Innisfil Beach Park and head west on Innisfil Beach Road until it reaches its conclusion at Jans Boulevard.
“We are thrilled (that) this year we have over 45 floats,” said Patty Dow, vice-president of ICE. “It’s a true testament to the generosity of the local businesses and organizations participating.”
As in past years, an all-inclusive, barrier-free, sensory/quiet zone will be enacted from the park exit to Fire Station 1 at 780 Innisfil Beach Rd.
Donations of non-perishable food items for the Innisfil Food Bank will be picked up along the parade route, and Innisfil Fire and Rescue Services staff will accept donations of new, unwrapped toys as they walk by.
“Last year it was cold and rainy but that didn't stop all the little ones from smiling especially when they saw Santa. This year, rain or shine, we hope to see everyone with the same enthusiasm and, of course, wonderful smiles,” said Nadine Singh, ICE's director of marketing and public relations.
The parade has deep roots in Innisfil.
“This is my favourite event,” said Chris Reynolds Sr., the past president of ICE. He explained that ICE — which is a non-profit, volunteer-led organization — started organizing the parade 20 years ago after taking it over from the Alcona Beach Club (ABC).
Founded in 1994, Reynolds told InnisfilToday that many people erroneously believe that ICE is a committee affiliated with the town. Though most money raised by ICE is used to benefit the municipality — including making donations to the Rizzardo Health & Wellness Centre or families in need — he explained that the misunderstanding could be because members of the council used to sit on ICE’s board of directors. In fact, former mayor Gord Wauchope was among ICE’s founding members.
“It’s a great group of people,” Reynolds said. “We’ve always had great people on the board.”
Innisfil residents and community members are invited to wave to Santa Claus himself as he passes through the parade route this Sunday. Children’s letters to Santa will be picked up, too.
The parade route will be closed to vehicular traffic for about two hours beginning at about 1 p.m.
The parade itself is scheduled to begin at 1:30 p.m. For those interested in volunteering with ICE, check out its website.