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Fort Macleod’s Santa Claus Parade marks 36th year


Fort Macleod is gearing up to celebrate its 36th annual Santa Claus Parade this month.
The hour-long parade on Saturday, Nov. 25 is the centerpiece of a weekend Christmas Festival in Fort Macleod.
“There is so much generosity, hard work and love that goes into it,” parade co-ordinator Ashley Nelson said. “It’s always such a great feeling to be out in the streets of Fort Macleod not only during the parade, but for our whole Christmas festival weekend as well, enjoying all the numerous events and activities.”
The 2017 Santa Claus Parade them is “Celebrating Canada 150.”
The Christmas festival includes carolling, tree-lighting, bonfires, fireworks, free beef-on-a-bun, wagon rides, crafts sales, late-night shopping, a pancake breakfast, craft sales, a food barn at Holy Cross hall, pictures with Santa, the Rotary auction and a family dance.
The festival gets under way from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Nov. 24 with the Town of Fort Macleod serving free beef-on-a-bun to the first 500 people who arrive at the Devonian Walkway just off Main Street.
Free wagon rides will be offered on Main Street from 6:30-9 p.m. Friday.
The scene shifts to the west end of Main Street at 6:45 p.m. for carolling and awarding of prizes from the Fort Macleod and District Chamber of Commerce business window-decorating contest.
Attention then turns to the annual lighting of the community Christmas tree, also at the west end of Main Street.
New this year is a fireworks show to be put on — weather permitting — by the Fort Macleod Fire Department.
The Fort Macleod and District Chamber of Commerce is organizing a Moonlight Madness late-night shopping event on Friday.
Also getting under way on Friday is Fort Macleod Allied Arts’ annual giant craft sale at the Fort Macleod and District Community Hall.
The sale runs from 6-9 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
There are other craft and art sales at various locations throughout the weekend.
Parade day gets under way at 9 a.m. with a pancake breakfast hosted by the A-T Children’s Project at the corner of Main Street and Third Avenue.
At 11 a.m., the parade gets under way and travels north on Second Avenue before turning east on Main Street.
Last year an estimated 12,000 people turned out to watch the parade.
“The parade is a tradition for many here in Fort Macleod and surrounding communities to come with their family and friends and celebrate the beginning of the Christmas season together,” Nelson said. “This event really brings our community together as so many businesses, organizations and individuals donate their time, talents and resources to make this happen.”
A large portion of the committee’s $36,000 budget is transportation costs for the bands.
So far, the Calgary Round Up Band, the Stetson Band and Stampede Show Band, Magrath High School Band, Trifecta Homeschool Choir and F.P. Walshe School Band have confirmed their attendance.
Following the parade the Knights of Columbus will operate a food barn at Holy Cross Hall as a fund-raiser.
The Macleod Gazette hosts Pictures With Santa beginning at 12:15 p.m. as a fund-raiser for the Fort Macleod Kids First Family Centre.
At 2 p.m. at the Southern Alberta Livestock Exchange (SALE) the Rotary Club of Fort Macleod hosts its annual fund-raising auction.
Also at 2 p.m., the free family movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas will be screened at the historic Empress Theatre.
The Christmas Festival concludes with a family dance at 7 p.m. Saturday at Fort Macleod and District Community Hall.
To register an entry in the parade, contact Ashley Nelson at or call 403-715-2125.