London Santa Claus Parade executive director Shaun Merton is announcing new details of this year’s parade, which will be held as a drive-thru event due to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.
In late September, the City of London confirmed it would not be issuing any permits for parades for the rest of 2020. In a statement to Global News at the time, the City said the decision was “to ensure we are taking every precaution to prevent COVID-19 from spreading.”
Days later, Merton confirmed that the parade had found a way to continue on anyway, by flipping to a drive-thru format, with details forthcoming.
On Monday, Merton told Global News that the parade will be held at the London International Airport.
“The guys at London International Airport, they were like ecstatic when we start talking about it and we just got everything all done and everything. I walked the runway on Sunday just make sure everything will work … and it will,” says Merton.
“The other runway’s live so they might even have planes coming the same time the parade’s going on, so that should be pretty cool, too. The kids will think that’s just awesome, I think.”
The parade will run from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 14 on a first-come first-served basis, though Merton suggests people come early.
“Because it gets so dark out there and because of safety things we can’t do it any past that,” he explained.
“You’re going to come in on Oxford to Crumlin and go all the way down Crumlin to just about Huron St. And the entrance will be there. There’ll be lots of signs telling where it is.”
Merton says for those who don’t have a vehicle, they’ll be able to take in the parade through a livestream on their website, but due to COVID-19 restrictions they cannot have people going through the parade outside of a vehicle.
For those looking to participate as more than a spectator, Merton says they’ll be accepting entries until a week before the parade.
“If you want to come out and join the Santa Claus parade, definitely go to our website, get the application and send it,” he said.
“We only have so many spots and every spot is about 100 feet wide. So that gives everybody COVID-safe. We’ve already talked to the health board, so we’re good to go with all the rulings we have there.”
Of course, Santa Claus will also be in town and will be right at the end of the parade.
The parade theme is “Christmas in the City” and those who attend are encouraged to bring donations to the food bank. Drivers will be able to hand the donation through their vehicle window to food bank collectors. This year, there will be no teddy bear or toy collection.
There will still be a toonie toss, which is described on the parade’s website as its official parade fundraiser. Officials will also accept donations through a cheque made out to the London Santa Claus Parade.