Sarnia’s Santa Claus Parade will be a drive-thru event again this year.
“We just didn’t want to jeopardize the safety of the parade,” said Bob Marks of the Sarnia Kinsmen, who made the difficult decision to host the beloved tradition at Lambton College for a second year as a pandemic precaution.
“I know there’s been large concerts and events, but everybody was checked [for proof of vaccine] or tested,” he said.
“We just felt the large crowds would be too dangerous in the streets.”
The parade will be held Saturday, Nov. 27 between 4:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. with floats remaining in place and spectators viewing from their passing vehicles.
“No one gets out of their cars; they just drive slowly and watch,” said Marks, adding that last year’s event was a big success with more than 3,500 vehicles coming through.
“It went over so well — we were actually really surprised.”
This year’s theme is “Support Our Local Food Banks,” as organizers encourage donations of non-perishable food items, hygiene products, and cash. Canada Post will be on hand collecting letters to Santa.
Marks added that efforts are being made to help traffic move along smoother this year including right-turns only. Float submissions will have capacity limits and must adhere to COVID-19 regulations, including masks and distancing.
Last year, some $25,000 in donations was collected, said Marks.
“We’re already getting requests from participants,” he said. “Including some of the big ones that people always look forward to.”