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    Santa Claus parade shines bright

    By Jonathon Brodie

    There was definitely some extra shine to the Brockville Santa Claus Parade on Saturday.

    People of all ages lined the streets for most of the parade route running on parts of Pearl and King streets. There was more umbrellas held than toques worn by those who attended in hopes of keeping dry from the rain, but they weren’t going to miss a chance to catch sight of Jolly Old Saint Nicholas.

    There were more floats than last year with 75 and a new reigning float champion was named with the Thrill Dancers and their nifty moves toppling the former champs at the Aquatarium, but the big change this year was moving the start time of the parade.

    In past years the annual Brockville parade started at 2 p.m. to accommodate young children and dinner times, but this time around the procession started at about 5 p.m. when it was completely dark outside.

    “We were commenting on the way down here how much we loved that it was in the evening,” said Gina Acchione Nadon, who attended the parade with friends and family and had four children with her sitting in the front row along King Street to get a good view of all the action. “It lets you have the whole day and then come out as a family and enjoy the evening together.”

    Despite a little rain and lack of any snow whatsoever, the later start time added an extra holiday feel to the event with the floats lit up with Christmas lights instead of the mid-afternoon gloomy sky.

    There were even vendors pushing carts up-and-down King Street selling neon -coloured light sticks to people waiting for the parade to start.

    “It made all of the floats have to rethink what they were going to do with their design and that freshened things up a bit. Generally speaking, you see the same floats every year, but now they had to really rethink and add the element of light,” said parade committee chair Josh Bennett. “It just adds a little bit more magic to it."

    The idea to begin the parade at night was pushed by an informal poll done by Bennett directed to parents and teachers where he was told by a lot of them to take a cue from the Prescott Parade, which is held in the evening.

    A later parade was also intended to help downtown businesses, added Bennett. In past years King Street businesses wouldn’t get as many customers through the doors around the time of the parade because people would all be outside getting into the holiday spirit, so moving the parade to 5 p.m. — when some of those stores are already closed for the day — was supposed to help those businesses not lose potential sales.

    “Moving the parade gives the downtown businesses and restaurants an extra three hours of business and that’s a big difference on the Saturday after Black Friday,” said Bennett.

    The parade chair pointed out that moving the start time turned out be a fateful decision as the rain was a lot heavier at around 2 p.m. than it was by the time the parade actually started just after 5 p.m. when it had began to fizzle out for the most part.

    Bennett said this year’s parade was, “Such a great success,” that the committee is going to keep the start time at 5 p.m. next year.

    Santa Claus parade shines bright
    There was definitely some extra shine to the Brockville Santa Claus Parade on Saturday.
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