LISTOWEL – With the holiday season just around the corner, the North Perth Chamber of Commerce once again has a full day of festivities planned to get everyone in that early Christmas spirit.
The Chamber’s annual Listowel Christmas parade is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 25. This year’s event will feature a completely new route, and the third time in the parade’s history that a different path will be taken. This time around, parade attendees should anticipate its departure at 5 p.m. from Maitland Avenue South in the vicinity of Listowel District Secondary School, with the route heading west down Main Street East and through the downtown core.
The parade will conclude by turning south onto Livingstone Avenue, and is estimated to be an hour in duration.
North Perth Chamber of Commerce General Manager Sharon D’Arcey explained that when it comes to conducting parades, there is a lot of pressure on the municipality and the Ontario Provincial Police to ensure that there are minimal traffic disruptions. She believes that this new route – in essence a reverse route to the Agricultural Society’s July fair parade – will allow for the best viewing opportunities for the public, while causing minimal traffic congestion issues elsewhere in town.
“They were wanting to come up with something that was safe and best for a community that is growing so quickly,” said D’Arcey, who estimated that the Chamber has been handling the Listowel Christmas parade’s organization for the better part of 25 years. “So they took the route that the Ag. Society has been doing for a long time (with its July Listowel Fair parade), knowing that the route was fairly smooth.
“We don’t want to lose the parade, so we’re willing to give it a try.”
The Chamber conducted its first traditional parade in 2022 since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic two years prior, during which time a ‘reverse parade’ was held in Listowel Memorial Park. As of late last week, 35 floats were registered to take part this year, with the event typically seeing double that number closer to the parade’s running. Those planning on registering a float are encouraged to do earlier than later by visiting npchamber.com or calling 519-291-1551.
The Chamber is also seeking volunteers to help marshal the coordination of the floats on Nov. 25.
Prior to the parade the Chamber, in partnership with the Listowel Agricultural Society and supporting businesses, will be hosting a ‘Day with Santa’ event at the Agricultural Hall from 1-3:30 p.m. Not only will local tykes get the opportunity to meet the big man himself and get a photo with him, a number of activities including letters to Santa, a colouring contest, face painting, balloons, and a hot chocolate station will be available to families.
“We’re getting a great response from the business community,” said D’Arcey of the support the event has received. “There is an incredible vibe out there regarding the Day with Santa, and some businesses are really stepping up to make sure that the afternoon with the Ag. Society for the photos with Santa is spectacular. There’s lots of things for families to do before or after they see Santa.
“We’re so blessed that we have a community that wants to help out.”
D’Arcey added that the general excitement for the events scheduled next Saturday continues to grow.
“People are really excited about coming,” she said. “There’s some sentiment to parades; we’re growing into a big community, but we still have that small-town mentality of gathering and joy, and we’re looking forward to it.”