Santa and Mrs. Claus wave to the many people on Main Street during the annual Downtown Penticton Association Santa Clause Parade. The parade takes place on Dec. 1, starting at 4 p.m. Western News file photo

Safety top of mind for annual Penticton Santa Claus parade

Penticton’s 21st annual Santa Claus parade is this weekend

Penticton’s 21st annual Santa Claus parade will roll along Main Street this Saturday, Dec. 1, starting at 4 p.m.

Organizers want the public to head downtown and show your holiday spirit by waving, cheering and celebrating the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus to town.

“We are bursting with floats and group participants this year,” said Lynn Allin, executive director, Downtown Penticton Association. “The parade will be a festive spectacle of lights, music and ample holiday merriment.”

Parade goers will want to dress from head to toe for the cold evening temperatures to stay warm until the parade ends since the final float in the procession will be carrying the guests of honour.

While the day will be fun, safety is top of mind for everyone. Last weekend a four year old died after being run over by a float in the Yarmouth, N.S. annual Christmas parade.

Related: Young girl killed by Christmas parade float in Nova Scotia

“My thoughts have been with the family and those impacted by the tragedy last weekend in Yarmouth N.S.” said Allin. “We immediately reviewed our protocols as a result.”

While Penticton’s Santa Claus parade has a good safety record, Allin is being proactive about safety this year.

“Groups with children participating in the parade must have adult escorts. Also, people giving out treats must do so along the sidewalks rather than tossing to spectators from floats or across the street,” said Allin, who is discouraging guests leaving the safety of the sidewalk.

Additional parade patrols will monitor both the procession and spectators.

To keep the parade route wide and clear, motorists should note that a parking ban will be strictly enforced (towing vehicles if necessary) starting at 2:30 p.m. Saturday along Main Street and on Martin Street during the initial staging of the floats. The parade will enter Main Street at White Avenue and head southward along Main Street to Lakeshore Drive.

“We’re really pleased that parade day coincides with the start of free Saturday on-street/parking meter parking for the month of December, so parade-goers and holiday shoppers can conveniently park throughout the downtown district even while Main Street is closed,” said Allin.

Additional safety considerations the parade organizers would like spectators to consider are; wear reflective, bright or light-coloured clothes to enhance visibility; carry a flashlight or glow stick when walking in the dark and discuss safety with adolescents and children before the parade.

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