Santa leads way in annual parade

Host of entertainment and activities in Penticton's downtown Saturday for annual Santa Claus Parade

Santa Claus stops to chat with some of his admirers after finishing his ride through downtown Penticton during last year’s annual Santa Claus Parade. This year’s parade gets underway Saturday at 4:30 p.m. on Main Street.

Barb Haynes is expecting great weather for the annual Santa Claus Parade on Saturday, which she said will be one of the biggest ever.

“There are over 40 entries in the parade, which is huge,” said Haynes, who expects the parade will take about an hour to pass. “There will be lots of music, lots of light, lots of entertainment.”

But the executive director of the Downtown Penticton Association is also keeping a close eye on the wearer forecast, hoping for good weather for the afternoon of entertainment.

“I watch it every single day when we are going into event mode,” she said. “It’s supposed to be sunny and about five degrees.”

The downtown events get underway at 2 p.m. in Nanaimo Square, with free crafts and games for the kids, as well as a performance by Nikita Afonso from 3 to 4 p.m. The Pen-Mar Theatre is also getting into the spirit, offering free admission to a 1 p.m. showing of Arthur in exchange for a donation to the food bank.

At 4 p.m. the tree and other lights in Nanaimo Square will be lit, and the pre-parade performers — fire dancer Donnalee as well as dancers from Okanagan Dance Studio — start down Main Street to warm up the crowd for the main event.

The Santa Claus Parade will start at 4:30 p.m. working its way down Main Street to Lakeshore Drive. Amongst all the other entries, the new downtown float will be making its debut, with 10-year-old Maria Gauthier from Summerland on board, singing seasonal favourites.

“Last year it was pretty packed, so I would strongly suggest to people that they come early, do a craft, get your spot on the street,” said Haynes. “There are lots and lots of businesses that are serving hot chocolate and other warming foods.”


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