Santa Claus is coming to town once again to join in the fun of the Hyde Park and St. Thomas drive-thru parades.
Those who did not get a chance to enjoy the drive-thru London Santa Claus Parade last month or want to enjoy more of the Christmas spirit have another opportunity to get in on the festive fun.
The events all get underway this weekend, first with the A Thrill of Hope stationary parade in St. Thomas’s Pinafore Park from Dec. 4 to 6 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. nightly.
The St. Thomas parade was a collaboration between Elgin Middlesex London MP Karen Vecchio, Elgin Middlesex London MPP Jeff Yurek and the mayor of St. Thomas, Joe Preston.
“You will be able to drive through safely in your own vehicle and check out all of the interesting floats to help celebrate Christmas differently this year under the pandemic,” Yurek said.
Over 50 organizations are expected to participate, and there will be a bus out of CASO Station for anyone who does not have access to a vehicle.
St. Thomas firefighters will also be on scene to collect nonperishable food donations.
The second event, put on by the Hyde Park & District Lions Club and Hyde Park Business Improvement Association (HPBIA) is happening Saturday, Dec. 5, from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 1335 Fanshawe Park Rd. W. – Lowe’s parking lot.
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People will be able to drive by while remaining in their vehicles, where they can enjoy live music, Christmas decorations and reindeer, and say “hello” to their favourite famous duo – Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Donna Szpakowski, general manager of the HPBIA, said organizers are trying to avoid the traffic congestion the London Santa Claus Parade saw two weeks back.
Four police officers have been hired to help direct traffic in and out of the site, along with several volunteers.
“We can’t control what we don’t know, but we are certainly doing everything we can to mitigate traffic flow,” Szpakowski.
Santa Claus will be on site, but Szpakowski said he won’t be collecting handwritten letters. She said instead, this year Santa has gone online and is accepting emails at hyde.Park.Santa.Letter@gmail.com.
For Szpakowski, a big part of holding the parade this year is for the annual toy and food collection.
“Donations are very important this year, especially food or toys for tots and teens,” she said.
A system has been set up to ensure all donations are collected safely and sanitized for people’s safety.
A map of the parade route and all other information is available on the event’s website.