Check out part 1 one of this series here.
. This week a very talented and very large group of people held a news conference to announce the many changes to the 106th Santa Claus Parade. For those wondering, the big guy was in attendance and as usual, in a jolly good mood about what is happening this year. Excitement and magic was in the air and the countdown for the biggest parade in 106 years is underway. Soon 750,000 people will be gathered around the streets of Toronto and even more around the world will be viewing the parade and festivities on their TV, listening to it on their radio and creating new memories on November 21st. The next day, millions of people will begin preparations for Santa to visit their home and the excitement of the season will continue to build as memories of the parade become ingrained in the collective memory of all who participated.
Now, before those memories fade, I’d like to take some time to point out what most people don’t realize… the entire parade occurs because volunteers believe in Santa and what he stands for to our children and our own collective memories. Believe it or not, there is no government support for the Santa Claus Parade. The entire parade exists solely through sponsor and celebrity clown donations and the aid of thousands of volunteers. From bands to celebrity clowns, sponsors to police, emergency services to board members, all of the committees required to the members who serve on them, each and every one of these individuals volunteer their time, effort and money to make sure millions more in our community participate in the magic that is Santa Claus. It is an incredibly diverse group of people who share one thing in common with one another, their very big hearts.
In meeting all of these people (too many to mention individually, so I won’t for fear of excluding any single individual), I realize that it takes a community to maintain the rich 106 year old history of the Santa Claus Parade which has become the largest outdoor parade in Canada. It is more of a combined effort and timeline than I ever imagined before volunteering myself. Planning for the parade begins the day after the parade ends. Production logistics, float building, sponsor discussions, celebrity clown applications, city and government coordination and many more activities immediately begin the day after parade day for the next year’s parade. Our next meeting for the marketing committee is already planned in January. This is a group of active members who volunteer for one meeting a month from January to November, in addition to the time it takes to complete the next step items and tasks they have been given to make the parade happen. It is a logistical behemoth that is worth every minute.
So, we want to call out and thank all of the volunteers for their efforts, time, money and attention. Their self-sacrifice and interest in serving their community is magical and brings true meaning to the season. Santa is a great leader, but his helpers behind the scene are the real reason that I continue to believe in him. They embody everything about Santa that I respect… integrity, self-sacrifice, community service, joy and giving. Merry Christmas and enjoy the parade.