The large flakes of softly falling snow helped to put people in the festive spirit during the North Bay Santa Claus Parade Sunday afternoon.
Excited children were lined up along the parade route, anxious to see the jolly old man himself.
And Santa was just as excited to see all the rosy cheeked boys and girls, all bundled up waving to him with big smiles lighting up their face.
“I love seeing all the kids, and hearing them calling out to Santa. They’re so good to be standing there in the cold weather, waiting so patiently for us. They’re awesome. They’re great children. They’ve been good, out playing and having fun this year,” said Santa.
“And we have all kinds of letters to go through, so I’m going to be busy from now until Christmas.”
Santa got a glimpse at what Christmas could look like, with floats decorated in accordance with the “Futuristic Christmas” theme.
How far into the future they transported the crowd was limited only by their imagination.
“It could be a year, or it could be 2,000 years. We have some that are looking just a couple years into the future, but we have some that are doing some space travelling too, so we’ve got quite the range,” said Bryan Kimber, Community Development Facilitator with the City of North Bay.
A total of 42 floats were registered, with roughly a half dozen of them new to the parade.
“Participation by the kids is fantastic. We have hundreds of kids taking part in walking groups, and on the various floats. The smiles on their faces from young and old is fantastic to see.”
A panel of judges chose the best in each of the various categories, with awards also going out to the Best Overall Float, and the group with the Best Spirit.
Air Cadet Warrant Officer 2 Sarah Andreyechen says the cadets enjoyed the creative process as they put their float together.
“We have two robots that are dancing, and we have all of our cadets in big gold glasses which are kind of futuristic. And we have a little house that looks like it is made of metal so it is shiny and kind of futuristic looking,” explained Andreyechen.
“It was fun getting it all ready, because we had to make up a dance for the robots, so we were just dancing around making stuff up. The arms on my costumer are a dryer pipe, the top is a box and this thing around my neck is a Christmas wreath. We just spray painted everything silver and taped some buttons onto it.”
Many of the children stood with their letter to Santa in hand, ready to be passed over to a letter carrier.
“We’ve very happy to have Canada Post here walking the parade route, accepting all the letters from all the children again this year.”
The North Bay Food Bank, a long time participant, collected donations of non-perishable food items along the route.
Justin Huycke thought it important that his two year old daughter Ava, and fiancé Natasha start a family tradition by watching the parade together.
“The holiday season starts basically with the Santa Claus parade, and what better way to start making memories for the Christmas season than today? And what two-year-old wouldn’t like to see Santa Claus,” he laughed.
Ann Myers was joined by her son’s family, visiting from Eaganville.
The tradition continues as her child, brought his own children.
“We’ve lived here for 50 years and I don’t think there’s too many parades that we missed during that time. We enjoyed it and It was always good. There is so much effort that goes into it and so much work behind the scenes, that I think it is great that people get out and show their appreciation and support it. There were some years we actually participated in the floats.”
Daughter-in-law Anna Myers was anxious to have her children experience a North Bay Santa Claus parade like their dad did for so many years.
“We always go to the parades back home, and it just so happened we were here, so we decided to come watch the parade and have fun and see Santa,” said Myers.
“It is always exciting to see what the floats look like. It makes you feel Christmassy.”
Daughter Lilly had her own reasons for enjoying the parade.
“I like seeing some of the floats and getting candy,” she said excitedly.
Little brother Liam agreed.
“I like that I get candy, and I like that I can see Santa.”
An estimated 4,000 to 5,000 people took in the parade.