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Christmas parade ready to roll Dec. 14

Members of the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 124 will be the parade marshals at the annual Christmas Parade on Saturday, Dec. 14.

The parade will start at Memorial Park on King Street at 11 a.m. Legion members will lead the procession in a horse-drawn carriage provided by Sentineal Carriages.

Each year, the Christmas Parade committee chooses an organization or individual to lead the parade based on their achievements or major milestones.

In previous years, the NOTL Rotary Club, the town’s Communities in Bloom committee and volunteer firefighters – to name a few – were among the honorary parade marshals.

“The Legion has always been a great supporter of the parade so we thought it was something that was appropriate and they accepted it, so it was great,” said Kevin Turcotte, the town’s manager of parks and recreation.

With about 100 entries and six or more bands, the parade will proceed to Castlereagh Street, turn left to Wellington Street and on to Byron-Prideaux Street, turn left to Simcoe Street, Queen Street, and will end at the corner of King and Johnson streets.

For spectators waiting on Queen Street, the parade should arrive there by about 11:30 a.m.

NOTL residents can support the parade by purchasing Christmas buttons, which can be found at Valu-mart stores, the NOTL Community Centre and other locations throughout town.

Participation at the parade is free but the Town of NOTL pays for policing, maintaining Santa’s float as well as for supplies and bringing in some of the bands, Turcotte said.

Proceeds from button sales and all donations from local businesses will go toward supporting the parade for future years.

This year, the Town of NOTL decided there will be no judging of floats.

“We didn’t feel the need for judging. Everybody gets recognized,” Turcotte said. “We thought this would be better participatory rather than a competition.”

Many participating area businesses and organizations, such as Simpson’s Pharmacy and the NOTL Historical Society, have interesting floats, said Turcotte.

Other participants, like the Burlington Teen Tour Band, have a reputation of putting on great shows, Turcotte said.

Brock University and area elementary schools also have great floats that showcase community spirit, he said.

And, of course, no parade is complete without the man of the hour: Santa Claus who will make an appearance at the end.

“It’s the best Santa Claus Christmas parade in Ontario,” added the town’s community engagement co-ordinator, Lauren Kruitbosch.