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Economic downturn hurting Fort Macleod Santa Claus Parade support

santa claus

Even the Fort Macleod Santa Claus Parade is hurt by Alberta’s economic downturn.
Organizers said last week fund-raising for the 35th version of the biggest Santa Claus Parade west of Winnipeg is slow this year.
“The economy has really hurt some of our tried and true sponsors,” parade co-ordinator Kristi Edwards said.
The 35th annual Fort Macleod Santa Claus Parade goes at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 26 — economic downturn or not.
The theme this year is “Sleigh Bells Ringing.”
Edwards said the parade committee certainly understands why donations are coming in slow this year.
“Some of the corporate entities just don’t have anything to give,” Edwards said. “I think it’s a tough year for everybody.”
The parade committee spends $35,000 to $40,000 each year to stage the event — much of which goes towards the bands that bring people so much pleasure.
The committee dipped into its reserve fund to cover expenses last year, and will do so again this year if necessary.
“There won’t be any reserve left for next year though,” Edwards said.
People are asked to give generously when the folks carrying buckets for donations make their way along the parade route.
“If you feel so inclined we would be ever so grateful if you can help us keep the tradition alive,” Edwards said.
Finances aside, the parade is shaping up to be a good one with entries coming in every day.
Ten bands are booked for the 2016 parade.
“I think that’s the most ever,” Edwards said Thursday. “If we have a warm day like today we’ll have two pipe bands.”
The bands are Adam Mason and the Pangea Steel Band; Cranbrook Bugle Band; Webber Academy in Calgary; Holy Cross Collegiate Drumline; Calgary Stampede Show Band; Calgary Stetson Show Band; Calgary Round Up Band; AARM Pipe Band in Lethbridge; Magrath Spirit of Alberta Marching Band and the Legion Pipe Band.
A full slate of activities is planned for the weekend around the parade, including:

  • Free beef-on-a-bun from 5:30-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 25 in the Devonian Walkway.
  • The Moonlight Madness shopping promotion and bonfires on Main Street starting at 6 p.m. Nov. 25.
  • Carolling and lighting of the community Christmas tree at the west end of Main Street at 6:45 p.m. Nov. 25.
  • Wagon rides from 6:30-9 p.m. Nov. 25.
  • Allied Arts giant craft sale from 6-9 p.m. Nov. 25 and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Nov. 26 at the community hall and Arts Building.
  • Fort Macleod Lions Club craft sale from 1-9 p.m. Nov. 25 and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Nov. 26.
  • A-T Children’s Project pancake breakfast from 9-10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 26 at the corner of Main Street and Third Avenue.
  • The Knights of Columbus food barn from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Holy Cross Hall on Nov. 26.
  • Photos with Santa from 12:15-1:30 p.m. at The Macleod Gazette on Nov. 26.
  • Fort Macleod Rotary Club auction at 2 p.m. at Fort Macleod Auction Market on Nov. 26.
  • Free family movie The Polar Express at 2 p.m. Nov. 26 at the Empress Theatre.
  • Family dance from 7-9 p.m. Nov. 26 at the community hall.

To make a donation or enter the parade contact Kristi Edwards at 403-715-2125 or