Co-op construction means change of plans for Parade of Lights
The Rotary Club’s Santa Parade of Lights has been forced to find a new place to set up as construction at the Co-op parking lot in the city’s west end has caused organizers to consider alternative options.
“We’ve had to move our staging area and this has been a huge ordeal to find a space big enough for us to use,” explains event organizer and Chamber executive director, Cindy McDonald.
The committee decided to test the waters of the west parking lot at Stride Place as the new staging area, as there aren’t many suitable options that house a large enough space.
“This could be our permanent home but we’re going to see how this year goes,” adds McDonald. “If it goes really well, we’ll use it again but if it doesn’t we’ll have to go back to the drawing board.”
Organizers considered setting up shop in the oft-vacant and amply-sized mall parking lot, however crossing the train tracks and shutting down both directions of Saskatchewan at that area of town would have caused for a logistical nightmare.
As a result, it was decided that Stride Place will host the staging area and the parade will make its way down Crescent Road to 20th St SW. The route will then lead to Saskatchewan Ave to kick off the parade which will continue on down the Ave, the very same as in years past, before disbanding at its usual location at 9th St SE.
The event’s date has also changed this year from the first Friday in December to the second. The Rotary Club of Portage la Prairie, the fine organization that jointly hosts the annual parade with the Portage Chamber, has its hands full in early December with the Bruins/Terriers Alumni weekend.
Anyone interested in entering a float or the parade as a participant is free to do so and is encouraged to contact McDonald for more information.
“There’s no qualifications, there’s no charge, it’s completely free,” she said. “It’s our only parade and it’s a really great way to ring in the festive season.”
Although the route will take the parade down the Crescent prior to heading to the avenue, spectators aren’t encouraged to soak in the action lake-side as the road itself will be closed and all the festivities will be happening on Saskatchewan Ave.
“We’re trying to discourage people from watching from the Crescent because it’s not really going to be the parade, per se. There won’t be any candy given out,” adds McDonald.
For more information contact McDonald at email@example.com or by calling the Portage Chamber.