Parade founder George Davies told The Leader today (September 30th) that after consulting with his boss, Santa Claus, that it is best to not proceed with the parade in 2020.
“I spoke with Santa and he wanted us all to be safe with the pandemic going on,” Davies said.
He explained that with the physical distancing restrictions in place currently, keeping with the traditional format of the parade was not possible.
“Whatever we do would not have been what the community deserves,” Davies said adding that many groups that normally would be involved with the parade are also not running.
“The bands like the Air Cadets, Seaway District High School, and from Montreal are just not able to,” he said. “It’s a real bummer.”
Another factor is costumes. Each year, there are many students and other volunteers who are in costumes throughout the parade route, interacting with people as the parade passes. Davies said that with the cleaning procedures required, and some of the rentals that have to be done, those are not possible.
He said he did consider turning the event into a drive-by parade, where the displays are stationary and the audience passes by. The City of Belleville recently announced its Santa Claus parade would adopt that format for 2020. However, as Davies explained, the location would be an issue.
“The [Morrisburg Village] Plaza would not work,” he said. “At that time of year, anywhere that would have the space in South Dundas to allow cars to drive-by is too open.”
Funds that have been raised for the planned 2020 parade will be kept and used for the 2021 parade.
This year would have been the 27th year for the parade. Davies said that while the parade isn’t happening this year, he is already working to make sure everything is ready to go for a parade in 2021 if its allowed.
“I am really disappointed we had to do this, but we want everyone to be safe this Christmas season.”