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Fort Macleod continues Santa Claus Parade tradition

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The 35th annual Fort Macleod Santa Claus Parade gets under way at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 26. – MACLEOD GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

A long-standing Fort Macleod tradition continues Saturday, Nov. 26 with the 35th annual Santa Claus Parade.
Billed as the “biggest and best parade of its kind west of Winnipeg,” the parade is firmly established in the hearts of community residents.
“I think that’s part of why the parade is still so successful,” parade co-ordinator Kristi Edwards said. “It has maintained that spark, that magic. It’s a tradition for a lot of people to kick off the Christmas season with their families.”
Since the first parade was held a two-day Christmas Festival has developed around the cornerstone event.
Free beef-on-a-bun, craft sales, carolling, lighting of a community Christmas tree, wagon rides, a pancake breakfast, pictures with Santa, a fund-raising auction, free children’s movie and family dance all add to the fun.
“It’s the community involvement that makes it worthwhile,” Edwards said. “It’s a community tradition.”
The Santa Claus Parade committee made Gordon Elgin a posthumous selection for 2016 parade marshal.
Elgin, who died April 24 at the age of 90, was a strong community supporter, making substantial donations to the parade, the Fort Museum, the high school scholarship fund and other worthy causes.
“He was a big supporter of the parade and the community in general,” Edwards said. “We want to honour his memory.”
Elgin was born and raised and lived much of his life at the family ranch on Olson Creek west of Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump before retiring to Fort Macleod in 1998.
Edwards said entries are coming in steadily for the parade, which usually attracts more than 100 and lasts for close to an hour as it winds through the downtown core.
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; Alexies A. Regiers Memorial Pipe Band from Lethbridge; Magrath Spirit of Alberta Marching Band and the Legion Pipe Band.
The Fort Macleod parade goes ahead regardless of the weather.
“I honestly don’t even worry about it,” Edwards said with a laugh. “It’s one thing I can’t control.”
A full slate of activities is planned for the weekend around the parade, including:

  • Free beef-on-a-bun from 6-7 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.

For information contact Kristi Edwards at 403-715-2125 or santaclausparade@fortmacleod.com.

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1 Comments For This Post

  1. Jim Mountain Says:

    My heart and thoughts always turn to Fort Macleod on Parade weekend..Congratulations to all for the amazing herculean effort to keep this going so excellently for 35 years. I remember clearly the first one…and this event has grown to bring joy to many many people over the years. All the very best ! Jim