Country Christmas Parade float back on track
The Country Christmas Parade is back on track after an uncertain few months, thanks to the Merritt Chamber of Commerce.
The parade, scheduled for the third weekend in November, is one part of the weekend’s workload that the Country Christmas Committee is sharing this year in an attempt to lighten its own load. Another group has volunteered to operate the Santa float, and Home Hardware is sponsoring the wreath walk. City councillor and committee member Kurt Christopherson said the committee will handle Santa’s Village at the Civic Centre and the kickoff concert, but the division of the rest of the labour is a welcome change.
“There’s still a lot to do but, certainly, having the parade under the auspices of another group is a big relief off the committee’s shoulders,” Christopherson said. “A lot of our volunteers have moved on or retired or like to go south for the winter, so it has been a bit of a challenge finding volunteers, but we’ve got pretty much everything on the go now.”
Darrel Brooks, who owns Country Bug Books and Gifts and is the secretary/treasurer of the Merritt Chamber of Commerce, is one of the organizers of this year’s parade. He said the chamber agreed to take over the project at the beginning of fall and is now working on float entries and scouting volunteers.
“This is one of the bigger parades in the Thompson-Nicola region, and it’s quite a big deal for Merritt to host this, so that’s why the chamber thought it would be good to get back into it,” Brooks said.
“The chamber’s done it in the past and we wanted to bring it back to that style and perhaps make it more than it has been in the past couple of years. We wanted to bring back the excitement of the parade and the midnight madness and everything that goes on that particular day.”
One of the changes to the parade is each float will have a lighting component. Brooks said the chamber has been contacting outlying areas to get floats from out of town in a bid to secure 100 entries — and enough volunteers to help make that happen.
“It’s going to be quite bright and colourful,” he said. “Anybody who wants to have a float in the parade or to volunteer can contact the chamber, and is greatly appreciated.”
Christopherson said it has been a challenge in the past to find volunteers, but not for lack of community spirit.
“Half of the town is in the parade, and the other half watches it,” he said.