ORILLIA DISTRICT CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Despite the summer-like temperatures that Orillia has enjoyed recently, the holiday season is on the horizon and the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce (ODCC) Santa Claus Parade is just six weeks away.
After an outstanding reception last year, the new tradition of a nighttime parade will continue, and the theme will be Light Up Orillia and Lake Country. The parade will take place on Saturday, Nov. 18, starting at 5 p.m.
The ODCC is recruiting local businesses and community groups to enter floats in this year’s parade. There is no registration fee, and although participants are welcome and encouraged to exercise their creativity with their float designs, putting together a float does not have to be an overly expensive or time-consuming process.
“The element of light allows for more businesses and organizations to take part as adding holiday lights to a vehicle is a fairly simple and cost-effective solution,” says ODCC executive director Allan Lafontaine. “Of course, we do encourage floats of all kinds.”
Organizers are strongly encouraging float participants to include a music element.
“Marching bands are more difficult to find since the pandemic,” says Lafontaine. “We are hoping that some businesses that own trailers will consider hiring bands to ride on their floats.”
Full information about float requirements and guidelines can be found at www.orillia.com/santa-claus-float-registration. Those interested in participating are asked to register their float online, taking care to note the rules, insurance requirements, and terms of the release and waiver.
ODCC events staff will follow up wherever there is a concern; however, in general, entrants can take their confirmation email as confirmation of registration. The events team will reach out in the week or two prior to the parade with specific instructions for arrival at the staging area.
For those who are unable to enter a float, there are plenty of other ways to get involved in the parade. Sponsorships are greatly needed, and there are a variety of sponsorship options available. Sponsor registration is available at www.orillia.com/event-sponsorship-opportunities or by contacting the events team at the ODCC.
The parade is also in great need of volunteers. In particular, banner carriers are needed. Banner carriers walk in the parade, making this an excellent opportunity for anyone who is interested in being part of the parade but who isn’t in a position to enter a float. For high school students, it can be a fun and easy way to earn community service hours to go toward their requirements for graduation. Younger students are also welcome to take part; however, they must be over 12 years of age or be accompanied by an adult. Volunteers can register at forms.gle/YeHivW2dTbUmmZap8.
“We’re hoping the community will come together to make this year’s parade better than ever,” says ODCC president Nathan Housser. “Community participation has always been an important part of the parade, which has taken place in Orillia for well over 100 years.”
Similar to last year, staging will take place in the eCapital parking lot on West Street South. This is the second year in a row that eCapital has generously allowed the use of their parking lot for parade staging, which, prior to the waterfront construction project, had taken place on Centennial Drive.
The parade route will begin at the intersection of West Street and Colborne Street in downtown Orillia. It will head west on Colborne Street before turning north onto Dunlop Street, then winding back east along Mississaga to Front Street and proceeding south all the way to Queen, ending back at the staging area at eCapital.
A map showing the parade route is available at www.orillia.com/santa-claus-parade. Spectators are encouraged to check back closer to the parade date in case of any minor changes to the route. They are also reminded that the parade will take an estimated two hours to complete the entire route, so it is important to be prepared and dress warmly. Multiple streets will be closed to allow for the parade, so spectators and others who will be travelling through the area should consider planning ahead and allowing some extra time.
Parade updates will be posted on the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce Facebook page and on orillia.com.
The Orillia Santa Claus Parade would not be possible without the support of the members of the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce. A directory of chamber members is available at orillia.com.