Santa Claus will be coming to town again this year for the 12th-annual Surrey Santa Parade of Lights on Sunday, Dec. 3.
The parade will be bigger than ever, and that comes with challenges, said Cloverdale BIA executive director Paul Orazietti, who organizes the event in partnership with the BIAs in Fleetwood and Downtown Surrey.
“The parade is growing every year, and the [organizational] complications grow as well,” said Orazietti, citing growing operation costs such as the need for an increased police presence, traffic control and insurance as a fundraising hurdle.
Last year’s parade cost about $15,000, said Orazietti, and this year’s is expected to cost around $26,000.
The increased cost is simply a result of an increasing crowd size, according to Orazietti. The event is becoming larger than the rodeo parade, he said. For instance, this year the BIA is working with the City of Surrey to set up bleachers along 176A Street so that more are able to safely view the parade.
The parade also got a high-tech revamp this year, as the Cloverdale BIA launched a new website, www.santaparade.com, to promote the event.
The website highlights Cloverdale’s brief cameo in the 1997 Coca Cola lighted truck commercial, which used downtown Cloverdale as a stand-in for a small American town. It also includes entry forms for appearing in the parade itself, sponsorship packages, and event information, including a map of the parade route.
In an effort to crowdfund some of the costs for the parade, the Cloverdale BIA launched a GoFundMe campaign in June with the goal of raising $10,000 for the parade, but as of Monday (Oct. 30), the online fundraiser had raised just $115.
Luckily for Santa, development company Mosaic signed on as a presenting sponsor and donated $10,000 to the parade, so the show will go on. The majority of the funds to put on the event have now been secured, but Orazietti said that the BIA is still looking for support from local businesses and organizations to reach their final goal.
The next step will be confirming the parade’s guest list.
“We were waiting to see how many vehicles [will come]. We’ve run into some competition,” said Orazietti.
Orazietti said that some of the usual participants from the Island Equipment Owners Association are frustrated, as many of the big rigs were unable to attend the parade last year when the ferries that were scheduled to take them from Vancouver Island to the Lower Mainland were cancelled due to poor weather.
“They have a new event in Sydney, so they’re kind of going, it’s easier on us [to go to Sydney].
“So that’s the part that may affect us. But the people who have come [every year] have been pretty consistent so we’re banking on [their participation],” said Orazietti.
There are some new, local players that have expressed interest in the parade but are still “on the fence about it,” said Orazietti.
The parade will start at 5 p.m., and will follow a new route. It will kick off from the Cloverdale Fairgrounds and move straight down 176A Street, turn east along 58th Avenue, south down 177B Street, west along 57th Avenue, and then north along 176 Street before turning down 58th Avenue towards Highway 15.