For some, the Christmas season just doesn’t begin until Santa comes to town.
It’s certainly one reason why the community is expected to come out in droves to see the jolly old elf preside over Sooke’s annual Santa Parade on Dec. 1.
The festivities start early at Evergreen Centre where the Sooke Lions Club, the Harbourside Lions, the EMCS leadership class, and a group of RBC volunteers will be on hand at 4 p.m. to supply free hot dogs, hot chocolate and homemade cookies for all the folks who have braved the evening’s chill to welcome Santa.
There’s even a rumour that the big man himself will be on hand at the mall (he never could turn down a steaming mug of hot chocolate), and children will have the opportunity to get their picture taken with Santa.
Of course, by 4:30 p.m., he’ll have to hustle down to the parade’s starting point at Sooke Road and Dover Street where, at 5 p.m. the floats will be lit and the parade will set out, moving through the heart of town, down Sooke Road to Townsend Road.
This year’s theme is Sooke Lights Up for Santa and, in addition to brightly lit floats and vehicles, all the participants will be wearing flashing Christmas jewelry, glow sticks, flashlights and anything that could possibly contribute to lighting up the town. Everyone is invited to join in the light-up theme and organizers hope that a line of lights will mark the parade route as on-lookers flash their own illumination.
And speaking of lights, Sooke’s Christmas lights will be on full display, with the notable exception of the roundabout Christmas tree. That will be lit by Mayor Maja Tait who will throw the switch to officially mark the Christmas season as the parade approaches.
“This is going to be a great parade,” parade coordinator Steve Lawrence said.
“It’s going to be led by the Sooke Legion honour guard, followed by the spectacular Naden Band. We’ll have decorated fire trucks, and so much more. Right now we have about 30 other entries and I expect there’ll be a few more before the day of the parade. Everyone – service clubs, businesses, community groups – they’ve all gotten in the spirit.”
The Sooke Lions have delivered the parade for the past five years, stepping in when the previous organizers bowed out.
“It’s a wonderful celebration in town. Since we took it over five years ago, we’ve seen it grow every year,” Lions Club member Al Beddows, said.
“It just puts everyone in a positive, happy and giving mood.”
That Christmas spirit will be given an added boost a week later when, between 9 and 11 a.m. on Dec. 7, the Sooke Lions will also host their breakfast with Santa at the Sooke Legion hall.
“Of course there will be a lot of other really great Christmas activities in Sooke in the coming month, but it’s the Santa parade that really marks the beginning of the season,” Beddows said.