During one of his busiest times of the season, Santa Claus has managed to clear off enough time to make a stop in Brandon.
The Wealth Planning Group Brandon Santa Parade will take over the city tonight at 6 p.m. as jolly old Saint Nick will visit the Wheat City and according to the parade’s co-chair, you better get your spot to watch the show early.
“Spectators will want to get down there and get their favourite spot early,” Caroline Phillips said. “The parade itself is about an hour long and because it is at night, people really get to experience all of the wonderful lights and that really adds so much to the experience with the lights and the music.”
This year’s parade will feature about 50 floats dressed up with everything from extensive light displays to live carollers singing festive music.
In previous years, the parade was hosted in December, but with a healthy dose of snow already on the ground and the weather expected to co-operate — with above seasonal temperatures only slightly below 0 C — Phillips expects this year to be one of the biggest parades in recent memory with well over 4,000 people expected to attend.
“We’re really excited to have as much snow as we have though, too, because that really gets people in the spirit,” Phillips said. “Some people that have never experienced a Santa Claus parade and they come out and see it once and then they’re hooked and the next year they have a float in.”
The parade starts at 6 p.m., with floats beginning at the corner of Sixth Street and Rosser Avenue. The line of festive floats will work its way west along Rosser before turning south at 17th Street, then it will head back east on Princess Avenue back to Sixth Street, ending where it began.
The parade will also feature hot chocolate and cider on a first come first served basis and also makes sure the kids walk away with a treat or two.
“We will have Santa’s elves handing out candy for the kids,” Phillips said, adding that floats will not be throwing out candy to avoid dangerous situations on the icy road. “It’s a lot of fun.”
While the big man is closing the show, a small gem is opening it.
Aleca Antonakis, Miss Petite Western Manitoba 2012, will be near the front of the parade to open the show.
“I’ll be dressed up with my crown and sash,” Antonakis said.
The 21-year-old student from Brandon used to watch the parade as a kid and is now excited to be on the other side of the event.
“I’m really excited,” Antonakis said.