Santa Claus is coming...to the parking lot
MONCTON -- COVID-19 restrictions have put the brakes on many events, but one Maritime city is coming up with a creative way to continue a holiday tradition.
COVID-19 restrictions wouldn’t allow for Moncton’s traditional Santa Claus parade down Main Street, but organizers have come up with a new plan.
“I think it’s safe to say that there are thousands of people down here, and they’re all packed in, so it wasn’t something we could pull off with public health guidelines,” says parade president Alex Morton. “It wasn’t something we could do on Main Street with six foot distancing, so we had to figure something else out.”
The 54th annual Royale Greater Moncton Santa Claus Parade is going full steam ahead this year; with a twist.
While the Moncton Coliseum parking lot may not look very exciting now, in just a few weeks it will be filled with magic.
This year, the floats will be parked stationary in the Coliseum parking lot, rather than parading down Main Street.
Families will slowly drive around a planned route, taking in the Holiday cheer from the comfort of their own vehicle.
“They will drive slowly through, hopefully make it to Santa at the end,” explains Morton. “There will be exits partway through if people change their mind of if it becomes too slow or things get bogged out.”
Some parents are already big fans of the drive-thru parade idea.
“As a parent, I’m loving the idea of not having to put a million snow suits on, a couple pairs of mitts and make sure they have hot chocolate with them, and then you get to the parade and suddenly they have to go to the bathroom, so I think this is great!” says Tosh Taylor, a mother of two who attends the parade every year.
Morton says this style of parade opens the door for a new and inclusive approach.
“We’re looking at doing a sensory hour for those with sensory challenges. Maybe we can turn down the lights, or turn down the music, something we can’t really do on Main Street all that easily,” says Morton.
“This is just another way to make us feel normal even though it’s done completely different. It’s another way to embrace the change.” says Tosh Taylor, a mother of two who attends the parade every year.
And of course there is one special guest for whom travel restrictions don’t apply to.
“With all of this going on, with this COVID, no worries everyone! Santa and Mrs. Claus are going to make it happen, magically, like usual,” promised Santa Claus.
The 54th annual Royale Greater Moncton Santa Claus Parade will be held on November 21.
Adapting to the new normal, while still creating a little Christmas magic.