Jeff Burnison and his daughter Harper had already staked out their location along the North Bay Santa Claus Parade route Sunday afternoon, long before other families started to trickle in and as floats were still getting organized.
Burnison has made the parade an annual tradition since moving to the city 12 years ago. He looks forward to the most is hearing the music and seeing Santa Claus.
“It just gets us in the spirit,” grinned Burnison.
It is a tradition he has passed on to eight-year-old Harper.
“I look forward to the music and getting jolly each year, “ said the youngster with a twinkle in her eye.
The music portion did not disappoint, with the Bears Marching Band from St. Joseph-Scollard Hall playing a variety of Christmas tunes under the watchful eye of music director Brian Overholt.
Some years the band finds itself entertaining crowds at the Toronto Santa Claus Parade.
“We’re lucky this year that it is this weekend because we are going to Toronto next weekend for the Toronto parade,” said Overholt.
Playing at home has special meaning for the talented students.
“I think it is just nice to be in front of our hometown, have everyone say our name and it is just a spirited day, full of Christmas joy and it gets everyone pumped for the season.”
Children of all ages, from the very young to the young at heart, lined the route which extended along Chippewa Street to Ferguson to Main Street.
Al Lemay brought his 10-month-old son Samuel for the little guy's first-ever Santa Claus Parade.
Samuel was all bundled up, ready to begin what Lemay promises will be the start of a long family tradition.
“It is just an amazing experience, to be outside enjoying it with family and friends. The last few years have been really tough, so just to get back to normal, to experience the beautiful weather and just the spirit of the season is wonderful,” grinned Lemay.
In keeping with this year's theme — Outdoor Winter Activities — ringette, hockey, ice fishing, snowmobiling and mountain biking were some of the activities featured in the procession.
Postal workers walked the route collecting letters from children who wrote their secret wishlist to send to Santa.
And, the North Bay Food Bank collected non-perishable food items to help get them through the busy holidays.
Included in the long list of award categories were Best Overall Float and Best Spirit.