The road leading to the man in red will start at Peach King Arena this Saturday as Grimsby’s Santa Claus Parade takes a 2020 twist.
With a theme of “Holiday of Hope”, this year’s event will include 10 different display areas taking participants on a tour of town from western to eastern perimeters and finishing up in the downtown core.
As well, the event will include a special scavenger hunt requiring participants to observe a designated letter at each display area which will spell a secret password.
“It will add a little fun to the adventure,” said Trevor Ruzylo of Grimsby’s recreation services department and event coordinator.
Participants will use the letters from each display to decipher a password at: christmasingrimsby.ca/puzzle
There they can see photos which were also at each display. These will help all figure out a Christmas song lyric which will serve as their entry for one of five $200 gift baskets comprised of local goodies and gift cards.
While that aspect of the Grimsby parade is just as new as the display style format, there is one major aspect to the event many will recognize.
“This year has been anything but normal, so to have Santa and Grimsby firefighters on Main Street doing their traditional Christmas ‘thing’ will be great to see,” said Mike Williscraft, Grimsby Downtown Improvement Area board president.
“The Firefighter Association’s food drive for Grimsby Benevolent Fund is a very important holiday tradition and I’m very happy to see it continuing in the downtown.”
The map plotted out to usher reverse parade-goers around will bring vehicles south on Ontario Street to Main Street where they can turn right on Main to proceed by Santa and the area where firefighters will be out to accept donations for GBF’s food bank.
Grimsby Fire Department will also have a series of vehicles stationed along Main to light up the area.
Aside from being on Main Street for the reverse parade from 5-9 p.m. on Saturday evening, firefighters will also be set up at the Peach King Centre from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. to accept non-perishable food donations.
All food donations will be sorted at the newly unveiled GBF Hub at 19 Elm St. – the former Different Strokes location courtesy of GBF volunteers.
The need has never been greater, said Stacy Elia, GBF executive director. In 2019, 250 families received hampers. This year, that number could top 300.
“Christmas hampers alleviate some of the emotional stress and extra expense that many families and individuals experience during the holiday season,” Elia said.
Items needed include: fruit juice, cereal, tea/coffee, pet food, hygenic products, laundry soap, tissue and canned meats.
“Gift certificates in $25 increments would also be great. If $10 is all someone can do, that is greatly appreciated, too. GBF will top those donations up.”