The big day's almost here. Santa and Mrs. Claus make a special pre-Christmas visit to downtown Sudbury on Nov. 21 for the annual Greater Sudbury Santa Claus Parade.
There's a certain magic that comes with the event, said Downtown Sudbury executive director Maureen Luoma, who takes care of marketing for the parade organizing committee.
“For me, it's really great when the floats come by and you can see the kids getting excited and pointing, and when the fireworks go off, all the oohs and ahhs,” she said.
Parade day begins with the Santa Watch Party — which includes live entertainment, festival foods, horse-drawn wagon rides and children's activities — starting at 2 p.m. on Larch Street.
The pre-parade party even includes a story mob performance (of the Dr. Seuss classic "How the Grinch Stole Christmas") put on by the Greater Sudbury Public Library.
Also be sure to stop by the Northern Life building at 158 Elgin Street before the parade, as we'll have our Santa's Cabin set up. Staffers will pass out free hot chocolate, candy canes, magazines and colouring sheets.
The parade itself kicks off at 5:30 p.m. on Notre Dame Avenue, and winds its way through the downtown, ending on Elgin Street at Ste. Anne Road.
Expect a partial closure on Notre Dame starting at 1 p.m. Saturday, and downtown streets to be blocked off starting at 5 p.m.
The 2015 parade — which features 71 entries, including the Santa Claus float — has a Storybook Christmas theme.
Keeping with the theme, the grand marshals will be Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The musical grand marshals will be Sudbury band Tim Tam Slam Band, who will entertain the crowds with Christmas tunes.
A judging area will be set up on Elgin Street, across from the Sudbury Arena, and awards will be handed out in the following categories — floats, bands, marching groups and animals.
Immediately after the parade wraps up, there will be fireworks behind the Laurentian University School of Architecture. Eastlink will be televising the parade live, with commentary by Terry and Mell of Q92.
Luoma said the work that goes into putting on this yearly community event goes far beyond that done by the parade's organizing committee.
“When you add on the 70 entries we have, they're all volunteers, rehearsing for their bands, dance troupes, getting stuff ready to get their float made,” she said.
“We're probably talking anywhere from at least 1,000 to 1,500 volunteers involved in actually bringing this parade to the community and making it happen. So it truly is a community event.”
Learn more about the parade at SudburySantaClausParade.com.