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Cobourg Santa Claus Parade


by Festival Nomad "Sidekick" & Partner, Judi McWilliams

NOTE: The Cobourg Santa Claus parade is presented by the Lions Club of Cobourg and the Cobourg DBIA

“Injury” Timeout…

With the “Nomad” out with an injury, it was left for me to carry on. Without the worries of driving and getting lost, I only had to dress appropriately to accommodate for the freeeezing weather and light snowfall and then walk to the event. My task was to cover the Cobourg Santa Claus Parade. I had no idea which end of town the parade was starting out at, but I ventured out our front door with anticipation of heading downtown with a stop at our local coffee shop before securing a spot along the route. I couldn’t believe it, right at our corner, King and D’Arcy, tons of people were already sitting in lawn chairs and standing along the roadway. A policewoman was directing traffic at the intersection in a way that could only indicate that the start of the parade was happening directly at our corner. I located a tree stump at the edge of the roadway and decided that that it would be the perfect spot to stand. I could lean against the tree until the start of the parade, no one could stand in front of me to block my picture taking view and no one could push from behind. It was perfect (except no time for coffee, oh well)! People kept coming from all directions. They put plastic bags on the ground with warm blankets on top, wagons, lawn chairs and Dad’s shoulders. The traffic had all stopped. It was 2:00 PM sharp. The police car was all ready to start the parade. It started its sirens. The Cobourg Lions Club led off the parade collecting food and money for the Food Drive! Without further adieu the parade began.

Learning on the Fly…

Without the “Nomad” it was up to me to capture the excitement and essence of the parade in photographs. I’ve watched Gary over the years, but never really understood why he took the shots that he did or when. So, with little to go on, I decided to take multiple shots of every float, band, clown, dog, horse, car and bike rider in the parade! It was an effort to keep up as the parade seemed to move by, flawlessly at great speed. It was a long parade, mainly make up of bands and floats. I am going to describe the bands first.

And The Bands Played On…

I expected a few bands, but not the amount or quality that were actually there. It was fitting that the parade started off with the Cobourg Citizens Band all dressed in their sharp red, black & white uniforms. Not to be outdone, the “Toy Band” float presented by the Dale Road Senior Public School was amazing. The Sea Cadets marched tall and proud. The marshals of the parade orchestrated the co-ordination of the floats, marchers and bands perfectly. Next to follow were the bagpipes with music that warmed the heart. Then another school band played music from their colourful float. The Toronto Signals Band was visiting our town in their bright red outfits. Our neighbours from the Port Hope & District Pipes & Drum band entertained us as well. What amazed me was the concentration on the kid’s faces of the Brockville Lions Steel Band and the uniqueness of their music. The Salvation Army was strong and entertaining. The RCSCC Quinte Sea Cadet’s from Belleville braved the cold to join us also. My favorite though was the Burlington Teen Tour Band in smashing red outfits, spectacular music.

The Rest of the Parade…

Canada Post was at the head of the parade! The first order of business at the Cobourg Santa Claus Parade was for the little ones to mail their hand written letters to Santa to the walking Canada Post Box. I was surprised just how many children had brought these letters with them. I couldn’t believe the number of floats, marchers and animals! There were several horses in the parade but my favorite was the carriage drawn two heavy horses. Kids were the main focus of the parade though. They represented all aspects of the community, figure skating clubs, hockey teams (girls and boys), Beavers, Cubs, Scouts, dancing clubs, church groups, YMCA, library, sport clubs and more. My favourite float was the Montessori school with all the little kids dressed up in furry pure white polar bear cub outfits. A lot of effort went into these costumes. Another great float was the “Welcome to Whoville” with a life-sized green Grinch. The St. John Ambulance Therapy Dogs dressed up for the occasion along with other dogs in the parade dressed in t-shirts and reindeer ears. There were all kinds of floats, from a Viking Ships to Ice Castles and Christmas Trees. The fire department was well represented with their antique fire truck, their newest fire engine and, of course, Sparky the Fire Dog. The greatest float was saved until last…Santa Claus and all the Reindeer. The kids jumped with joy and clapped loudly. Sadly it was time to go home…unless you were off to your favourite mall to visit Santa again! I walked home (not far!) to be greeted by the “Nomad”. He was curled up in his favourite chair watching the Cobourg Santa Claus Parade on cable TV! A perfect ending with a great day!