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Santa Claus Parade in desperate need of donations

The Santa Claus Parade float is falling apart. Tamara Forlanski / Global News

WINNIPEG-It’s a festive tradition turning 105-years-old this weekend. Final preparations are underway for this Saturday’s Santa Claus Parade.

When the big guy’s float rolls down Portage Avenue it will likely be for the last time. “They are doing patches as best they can but the billboards are rotting,” said Natasha Fisher, with JCI Winnipeg, the volunteer organization putting on the parade.

The float has been a fixture of the parade for more than half a century and parts of the structure date back to the early 1900’s.

In 2013, JCI entered a contest hoping to win money for a new float but lost. The group now desperately need your help.

“We do need support,” said Fisher. “Whether it is donations or sponsorship to make that happen so we can get supplies and materials.”

Building a float isn’t cheap. It could cost upwards of $100,000.

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The target is tough for JCI to reach. It only brings in a few hundred dollars in donations every year.

Carpentry students at the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology are helping fix the float for free. “It’s time for the new one,” said Bruce Fergstad, with the Manitoba Institute of Trades and Technology.

The school has offered to build a new float for free. “Only if the money comes in of course,” said Fergstad.

He said he would like construct a float with a sturdier base and animatronic reindeer.

“We don’t want to half do it… we want something that could go to another parade and be with the best of them,” said Fergstad.

JCI will be collecting donations during the parade at a block party on Portage Avenue between Balmoral Street and Good Street.

If you can’t make it to the block party, you can contact JCI directly about making a donation by emailing JCIWinnipeg@gmail.com.

On top of money, donations of construction material will also be accepted.

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