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Fort Macleod Santa Claus Parade group seeking donations, entries

sue risser

Sue Risser is co-ordinator of the Fort Macleod Santa Claus Parade.

Organizers of the Fort Macleod Santa Claus Parade are looking for an early Christmas gift.
The committee has raised just 50 per cent of its annual $40,000 budget for the parade on Saturday, Nov. 29.
“Donations are coming in very slowly,” parade co-ordinator Sue Risser said. “We haven’t got really close and we’re only a few weeks away.”
The committee’s biggest expense is the bands that provide the festival soundtrack to the parade, which is in its 33rd year.
Seven bands are confirmed for the 2014 parade, with the status of the Calgary Stampede Band dependent on whether the Calgary Stampeders make it to the Grey Cup that same weekend.
The parade committee hopes to add an eighth band, but it will require about $8,000 of additional funding to make it happen.
The RCMP Regimental Pipe and Drum Band in Edmonton recently contacted Risser about taking part this year.
“I have tried every single year to get a pipe band,” with no success, Risser said. “The RCMP band is one that is really difficult to get. We don‘t want to turn them down.”
In addition to the bagpipers and drummers, the RCMP band will also bring Highland dancers.
“The cost is substantial,” Risser noted.
The committee would have to pay for 15 to 20 hotel rooms, travel expenses and provide an honorarium of $1,500 to $2,000.
The committee is hopeful someone would be willing to sponsor the RCMP pipe and drum band.
“The one request I get every single year is for a pipe band,” said Risser, who is in her fifth year as parade co-ordinator.
Pipe bands are usually unwilling to attend the Santa Claus Parade because of the effect cold weather has on the musicians and their instruments.
This year, however, the RCMP Regimental Pipe and Drum Band is ready to make the trip to help celebrate an anniversary that is important to both the police force and Fort Macleod.
In honour of the 140th anniversary of the arrival of the North West Mounted Police in what is now Fort Macleod, parade organizers have made that the theme.
“Fort Macleod is really important to them,” Risser said of the RCMP band.
Parade entries are also slow to come in this year, something Risser hopes changes before Nov. 29.
“We would love to have all our businesses involved,” Risser said.
Last year the parade recorded about 120 entries which, combined with the bands, made for an impressive spectacle.
Risser said businesses and organizations benefit from the exposure the parade provides, with thousands of people lining the street to watch the procession.
Strong participation from businesses and organizations in the parade is also good for Fort Macleod.
“It excites people when they see people they know on a float,” Risser said. “The parade builds community spirit.”
To make a donation or to register an entry in the parade, phone Sue Risser at 403-715-2125.

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