If floats aren’t what float your holiday boat, don’t worry there are other ways to take in Sydney’s parade day, thanks to the work of the Sydney Santa Claus Parade Committee.
While the focus of the day will surely be centred around the parade that stars Santa, the parade’s two-hour after-party has you covered if waiting for Santa in his parade caboose isn’t your thing.
At the time of print, there were more than 65 floats entered in the parade and many businesses and organizations are committed to taking part in Party at the Park, which will take place immediately after the parade wraps-up.
The parade committee made a number of changes to this year’s parade, making it shorter and safer, without compromising any of the fun that is expected at a parade.
Parade Changes this year
For several reasons this year’s parade will be shorter than last years. When planning, the committee had to consider the then-construction on Charlotte Street. Instead of risking a potential delay with its completion, the committee decided to scratch it from the route.
That helped with another reason for the shorter route. Removing the Charlotte Street loop, shaved 3 km in steps but it also meant fewer turns. Minimal turning for the parade participants increases the overall safety of the parade. One of the priorities of this year’s committee.
In addition to both older and younger parade goers who suggested a shorter route, the chief of police recently compared the length of the Sydney’s parade to those in other nearby jurisdictions and it turns out Tar City’s is much longer than the norm. Admittedly, there are many running marathons that are shorter than seven km in length.
No tents along route
Unlike previous years when tents were found along the parade route, this year all the tents will be in one convenient – and safe location. That doesn’t mean that the usual offerings of hot chocolate and other treats won’t be available, it means that there is a bigger and better offering that will be available.
As the parade ends, the committee hopes that Neville Park in Whitney Pier will be flooded with people wanting to celebrate the season and take in a jam-packed line-up of things to fill the two-hour party.
The parade will begin at the Eltuek Arts Centre (170 George Street) at 2:30 p.m. It will continue down George Street to Prince Street, to Disco Street, to Victoria Road where it will end. That’s when the Party at the Park begins at Neville Park.
Party in the Park
According to Barron, the community really stepped-up to contribute, collaborate, and participate in the party. “We are really looking forward to it.”
Barron says the community support has been great. “Businesses and groups are stepping up. The overall response from people is high,” she said. “Retired fire fighters have reached out to help; businesses are setting up stations, and there have been offers to provide food.”
Between 4-6 p.m. local restaurants and businesses will be providing hot chocolate, pizza, and french fries. There will also be an Indian food restaurant offering some dishes and a BBQ fundraiser.
Float Awards will also be given out during the party.
For the kids there will be games and activities, a movie on the big blow-up screen (weather permitting), a photo booth, and more, said Barron.
There will be a full stage at the park ready to host the community. Barron and the other committee members are hoping for a large turnout. The committee worked hard to put together an afternoon that will appeal to everyone.
Andrew Doyle will be on that big stage performing during the event.
For Barron, the highlight of chairing the committee has been the people. “The community spirit behind [the parade] has been unbelievable,” said Barron. “It is going to be great to bring the community together.”
Barron is also looking ahead to next year’s Santa’s parade. While too late for consideration for this year’s parade, CBRM council recently vote to reverse its earlier ban on nighttime parades, and that presents the possibility of having nighttime parades in the years ahead.
“I am looking forward to continuing to listen and respond to the community and work with the CBRM recreation’s department and the police to plan a safe and fun parade next year,” said Barron.
New board member brings different perspective
“He is fantastic,” says Barron of Cape Breton Influencer Ankit Wadhwa. “He brings a different perspective, coming from a non-Christian background, Christmas isn’t something celebrated in his culture.
This was Wadhwa’s first year on the committee.
“He asked those questions that many parade goers might not consider. He also used his connections to bring aboard Pizza Hut and Amy’s Takeout,” said Barron.
All welcome, great time for all age
The committee planned the parade after-party to be as welcoming to the community as possible, whether attending the parade or just wanting to experi. That is one of the reasons so much time and energy went into planning the event.
“This way people can choose to experience the parade in different ways,” said Barron. “We are excited to be hosting the community, we have something for everyone. Come down to the park; it will be a great time for all ages.”
“Everybody wants a safe parade; nobody wants to see anybody get hurt. But there are parameters around that,” Barron said.
“But now this is opening the door for a discussion with the police, with CBRM — who helps in the recreation department with all this type of thing, just to see if that could be an opportunity in the future.”