62nd London Santa Claus Parade boasts new entertainment, more floats than past years

The man in red and white is making his way to London.

Santa Claus is coming to town on Saturday to celebrate the 62nd London Santa Claus Parade.

According to executive director Shaun Merton, this year’s theme is A Christmas to Remember.

“We’ve got about 37 entries, about five bands and a ladies’ precision horse drill team,” said Merton. “They’re a new group and I think they’re going to be a real crowd-pleaser.”

The parade will also feature an 80-piece marching band, more float entries than ever before and great family entertainment, said Merton.

Unlike many parades in larger cities, Merton said, London’s Santa Claus Parade is still considered a community parade.

“We sell flags that say ‘Santa stop here,’ which we do in conjunction with a community group. Half the proceeds go to the community group and half go to the parade.”

“We also collect donations for the food bank and we collect teddy bears for the Salvation Army toy drive,” he said.

Merton added toonies collected the day of the parade as well as sales from parade vendors all help to offset the total cost.

When asked why the parade is happening early in November, Merton said the parade started back in 1956 and has always been on the second Saturday in November.

“There were a couple years where we changed the date and it ended up being a logistical nightmare,” he said.

For example, Merton said last year the second Saturday was Remembrance Day so they didn’t have the parade and that meant they lost all their pre-booked bands.

“The dates are given to somebody else. They’re gone, we’ve lost them, we’ll never get them back.”

“Unfortunately it’s hard to change the date, and when you do it causes mass confusion. Some of the entertainment is booked one or two years in advance, so if you give those dates up, you lose them,” he said.

The parade gets underway at 6 p.m. Saturday.

The parade will travel west along Dundas Street from Egerton Street. Due to construction, it will turn right at Wellington Street, then travel to Queens Avenue where it will turn left and continue to Ridout Street.

You can also catch a live stream of the parade co-hosted by 980 CFPL’s Craig Needles and Natalie Lovie on YouTube starting at 6:30 p.m.

For more information head to londonsantaparade.ca

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