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Interest growing as parade marks 30th anniversary

The Fort Macleod Santa Claus Parade will celebrate another milestone Saturday, Nov. 26 with the biggest parade in years.
One hundred and 24 individual entries had registered by Tuesday for the 30th annual version of the parade.
“It’s going to be great,” Santa Claus Parade co-ordinator Sue Risser said. “It’s going to honour the 30th year.”
The parade, which gets under way at 11 a.m. Saturday, is the cornerstone of Fort Macleod’s annual Christmas Festival.
Risser said there is renewed interest in the parade, due in part to the 30th anniversary.
“The whole community takes pride in the Santa Claus Parade,” Risser said of the event’s ongoing success. “They’re proud to say it’s the biggest Santa Claus parade west of Toronto.”
With a forecast of 7 Celsius for Saturday the parade is shaping up to be the biggest in recent history.
The 120 individual entries is the highest in recent years, easily outstripping the 80 entries in the 2010 parade.
“It kind of blew me away,” Risser said of the growing number of entries. “It makes me so excited about it. I’m sure there are going to be more by the end of the week.”
Risser is pleased to see organizations such as ATB Financial and CIBC opening their doors Friday night during the Christmas Festival. That kind of community support keeps the festival and parade going strong.
“It’s a way for the community to work together,” Risser said.
“I’ll be home for Christmas” is the theme of the 2011 Santa Claus Parade.
The Christmas Festival kicks off Friday, Nov. 25 with carolling and the lighting of the community Christmas tree at 6:45 p.m. on the west end of Main Street.
The Chamber of Commerce has organized the late-night shopping promotion Moonlight Madness beginning at 6 p.m. Also on Friday the Chamber, Young Parkyn McNab and the Santa Claus Parade Committee team up to offer wagon rides on Main Street beginning at 6:30 p.m.
The Fort Macleod Hospital Auxiliary hosts a bake sale from 6-10 p.m. Nov. 25 at the Fort Macleod RCMP Centennial Library. The sale continues from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26.
Ranchland Victim Services will conduct its ninth annual Festival of Wreaths from 6-10 p.m. Nov. 25 and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Nov. 26 at The Fort — Museum of the North West Mounted Police. People and organizations create Christmas wreaths and donate them to be sold in a silent auction, with proceeds going to the victim services unit.
The Fort — Museum of the North West Mounted Police will kick off its Yuletide Fest at 7 p.m. Nov. 25 with the lighting of a new Christmas lights display in the courtyard.
The Fort Museum will also screen movies in the Blackfoot Gallery while providing hot chocolate and popcorn to visitors. People are invited to bring a decoration or buy one in the gift shop to add to the Family Christmas Tree.
The Giant Christmas Craft Sale hosted by the Allied Arts Council gets under way Friday night and continues Saturday at the Fort Macleod and District Community Hall.
The Santa Claus Parade gets under way at 11 a.m.
Immediately following the parade there will be Pictures With Santa at The Macleod Gazette, with proceeds donated to the Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre.
The Welcome Mat seniors’ centre will serve stew from 12 noon to 2 p.m., and the Knights of Columbus will operate their Food Barn from 12 noon to 2:30 p.m. at Holy Cross Hall, serving chili, beef-on-a-bun, hot dogs, smokies and homemade pies.
Fort Macleod Legion and Fort Macleod Family and Community Support Services will screen a free movie at 2 p.m. at the Empress Theatre.
The Rotary Club of Fort Macleod will begin its annual fund-raising auction at 2:30 p.m. at Midnight Stadium Agriplex. All the money raised from the sale of donated items is used for projects in the Fort Macleod community.
The festival wraps up at 7 p.m. Saturday with the family dance hosted by Hand In Hand Out of School Care at the community hall.

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