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Santa Claus spreads holiday cheer at annual Parade

ChristmasSanta Claus spreads holiday cheer at annual Parade

Over 10,000 Brantford and area residents gathered along Dalhousie Street for the long-awaited return of the Santa Claus parade on Saturday, November 25, 2023.

The parade kicked off at the corner of Stanley and Dalhousie Street before making its way towards Harmony Square for the Santa Claus Parade After Party.

Santa and Mrs. Claus pose for a photo during the Parade After Party on Saturday, November 25. 2023.

Children and their parents solidified their spots along the curb early so as to not miss the chance to wave to jolly old St. Nick.

Thousands of residents lined the street to watch the floats pass by during the Santa Claus Parade in Brantford on Saturday, November 25, 2023.

While many were bundled up in blankets and coats to stay warm, plenty of children took the opportunity to play in the street or grab a treat from one of the many vendors walking up and down the road.

As the parade drew near, David McKee, Brantford’s Town Crier, led the way on foot alongside Harmony Squirrel and Kevin Davis, Mayor for the City of Brantford, while the floats followed shortly behind.

Harmony Squirrel hugs a youngster during the Santa Claus Parade in Brantford on Saturday, November 25, 2023.

This year, a variety of 77 local businesses and organizations came out to show off their festive floats, including Brantford firefighters, paramedics and police.

Brantford Parks and Recreation was one of the 77 organizations in this year’s Santa Claus Parade on Saturday, November 25, 2023.

For many, like Jennifer Middleton, Community Events Coordinator for the City of Brantford, it was her first time participating in the parade. 

“Seeing the droves of people was incredible, there wasn’t a single space that wasn’t covered,” laughed Middleton. “I had the best time and  it really was the most magical experience. All the kids waving Merry Christmas with their treat bags, it was just so stinkin’ cute and I definitely want to do it again next year.”

Larry Brock, MP for Brantford-Brant, waves to residents during the Santa Claus Parade in Brantford on Saturday, November 25, 2023.

Larry Brock, MP of Brantford-Brant and his parliament counterpart, Will Bouma, smiled and waved to the crowd from their vehicles while members of council like Richard Carpenter, walked the streets collecting goods for the Brantford Food Bank.

Richard Carpenter, Councillor for the City of Brantford, represents the Food Bank as he wishes residents a merry Christmas during the Santa Claus Parade on Saturday, November 25, 2023.

Finally, as Santa Claus approached the end of the parade route, thousands of residents followed behind his sleigh to partake in the after party festivities.

The Grinch tried to steal Christmas but to no avail during this year’s Santa Claus Parade in Brantford on Saturday, November 25, 2023.

Nearly 5000 people packed into Harmony Square to grab free hot chocolate and popcorn, face painting, pictures with Santa and to write their last-minute letters to the North Pole.

Representatives of the Brantford Bandits were on hand during the Santa Claus Parade After Party on Saturday, November 25, 2023. Pictured in photo: The Stangl family: Cynthia, Jason Alyssa, Tyler and Kenzie, as well as, Laura McCaffery, Mike McCaffery and Sam McCaffery.

Middleton said that before the parade even ended, people were lined up in Harmony Square starting at 6:30 p.m. for a chance to be the first in line to meet the man of the hour.

One festive youngster curtsies for a passing float during the Santa Claus Parade in Brantford on Saturday, November 25, 2023.

After a declaration from McKee, Santa told the crowd that he was incredibly impressed with the party’s turnout.

“This is the best crowd I have ever seen at this after party, and you folks are just amazing!,” declared Mr. Claus.

A couple of residents get their photo taken with Santa and Mrs. Claus during the Parade After Party on Saturday, November 25, 2023.

The crowd then helped countdown in preparation for the official lighting of Harmony Square.

A member of the Royal Canadian Air Cadet’s plays his trombone with a festive flair during this year’s Santa Claus Parade in Brantford on Saturday, November 25, 2023.

Attendees clapped and cheered as the square came to life, and many took the chance for family photos in front of the large Christmas tree, while others danced along to Christmas carols.

A couple of youngsters clown around while walking the parade route during the annual Santa Claus Parade in Brantford on Saturday, November 25, 2023.

Dave Carrol, Lead Pastor of Freedom House, has been involved in the parade committee for many years and even partakes in the Rogers broadcast of the event, however this year was the first time planning the parade. 

Bruiser, the Brantford Bulldogs mascot,has some fun with residents during this year’s Santa Claus Parade in Brantford on Saturday, November 25, 2023.

JCI Brantford (formerly Jacycees Brantford) ran the parade for 45 years, and announced in early 2022, that it would be unable to independently operate the parade any longer. Last year, the City of Brantford worked together alongside Grandbridge Energy for six weeks to help the event return, but this year, Brantford’s Freedom House officially took over the parade.

“This parade was great, the whole team really came together and the parade was just smooth as butter,” said Carrol. “The day was just great and the weather was perfect.”

Conestoga College’s mascot, Cliffy the Condor, waved to the crowd during the Santa Claus Parade in Brantford on Saturday, November 25, 2023.

Carrol noted that the Freedom House team added something new for those involved in this year’s parade.

“Freedom House is really big on kindness, and this year we had teams of volunteers and ambassadors going up and down the staging area where the floats park, and handing out cookies, hand warmers and water to just give that extra personal touch,” he said. “This is one of the two biggest community gatherings in the city and it’s such a genuine event ,so we really wanted to stoke that and remind people why they are doing it.”

A member of the Brantford Area Jeep Club waves to residents who lined the streets during this year’s Santa Claus Parade in Brantford on Saturday, November 25, 2023.

He said he was very proud of the event and its turnout.

“I’m very very proud and for me, hearing that the crowd enjoyed it, is fantastic, but the thing I love the most is the internal stories from the volunteers and teams that put it on,” he said.

Members of Kids Can Fly were one of the 77 organizations participating in the Santa Claus Parade in Brantford on Saturday, November 25, 2023.
Brantford Girls Hockey Association was one of 77 organizations that took part in the Santa Claus Parade in Brantford on Saturday, November 25, 2023.
One festive youngster poses for a photo with Frozen’s Elsa and Anna during the Parade After Party on Saturday, November 25, 2023.
Jeff Harding performs the Tragically Hip’s “Bobcaygeon” during the Parade After Party on Saturday, November 25, 2023.

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