If you've been grumbling a bit about the early winter weather the city has been experiencing lately, perhaps you can blame Elsa, the character from the hit 2013 Disney movie “Frozen.”
Elsa — who has the powers to produce ice, frost and snow at will — is one of the grand marshals of the Greater Sudbury Santa Claus Parade Nov. 22, along with fellow “Frozen” characters Anna, Hans, Olaf and Kristoff.
The Disney character is being portrayed by Laurentian University nursing student Vanessa Warren, who was also this year's Miss Greater Sudbury, competing in the Miss Northern Ontario Regional Canada Pageant.
“I purposely, knowing I was coming here on Saturday, made sure that there would be a little bit of snow so I would feel at home here,” said Elsa, a.k.a. Warren. “I figured what better time for a Santa Claus Parade than to have a bit of snow.”
Also a grand marshal is 22-year-old Sudburian Gavan Rousseau, a Buddy Holly tribute artist who will be performing on the parade's lead float.
His performance fits with the theme of this year's parade — “Christmas Past or Future.”
Rousseau said people can expect some “good old-fashioned rock and roll music and a good time to kick off the party.”
And then, of course, is the parade's main attraction — Santa. Although Kris Kringle himself couldn't attend a press conference outlining details of the parade, he did send his second-in-command — Mrs. Claus.
“He's got a very busy schedule,” she said. “He sent me along to make sure everything was done to his specifications. I will actually happily report the Sudbury elves have done a fabulous job.”
The Greater Sudbury Santa Claus Parade “kicks off the Christmas season in the community,” said Downtown Sudbury executive director Maureen Luoma, who helps to plan the event.
“It is certainly truly a community event that brings all ages together. It celebrates the season not only for those that are watching the parade, but the thousands that are in the parade. Everybody becomes a child at Christmastime, and it starts with the parade.”
Over the years, the event has turned into something of a pre-Christmas festival, with the Santa Watch Party — with activities including free wagon rides and children's activities — starting in the downtown at 2 p.m.
About 30,000 people have showed up for the parade and Santa Watch Party for the past few years, Luoma said.
NorthernLife.ca, Sudbury Living Magazine and Sudbury Sports Magazine are also in on the fun. People are invited to gather outside the NorthernLife.ca building, located at 158 Elgin St., from 4-7 p.m. Nov. 22, at our Santa's Cabin.
Staffers will hand out free hot chocolate and candy canes courtesy of Vrab's Independent Grocers and Giant Tiger, free Sudbury Living Parents magazines and NorthernLife.ca colouring contest pages (with a chance to win a $50 Toys 'R Us gift certificate).
Motorists should be aware some lanes on Notre Dame Avenue will be closed starting at 1 p.m. because of the parade, and the entire downtown core closed to traffic between 4:45 and 8 p.m.
The parade itself, which includes about 80 floats, bands and marching groups, starts at 5:30 p.m.
It begins at the intersection of Notre Dame Avenue and Ste. Anne and winds through the downtown, ending at the intersection of Elgin Street and Ste. Anne Road. Parking is not permitted along the parade route.
After the parade ends — likely sometime after 7 p.m. — there will be fireworks in the downtown. Awards for the best parade entries will be handed out Dec. 2.
For more information, visit www.sudburysantaclausparade.com.