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Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes Rotary Club set to host “traditional” Santa Claus Parade

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The Bracebridge Santa Claus Parade is a go.

The parade will be held on Sunday, December 5th at 1 PM. The festivities will start on James Street in front of the Memorial Arena, turn onto McDonald Street, go down Manitoba Street before ending at the Silver Bridge. Organizer Don MacKay with the Rotary Club of Bracebridge and Muskoka Lakes says the parade will take about an hour. 

He says the theme this year is “winter wonderland.”

MacKay tells the MyMuskokaNow.com newsroom that this is possible thanks to the provincial government’s call in late October to lift capacity limits for outdoor organized public events like parades, memorial services, and other similar events. As soon as that announcement was made MacKay says he got in touch with officials with the Simcoe Muskoka District Health Unit and 24 hours later they got approval to host a parade.

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There will be some protocols to follow. Notably, MacKay is asking anyone attending to wear a mask and stick to their own personal bubble. “There won’t be contact between the parade and the bystanders,” he adds.

He expects between 30 and 50 floats, which is close to what MacKay calls a “full parade.” In the years before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bracebridge parade usually had between 60 and 80 floats. While there is still a lot of planning to do before the big day, MacKay says they have already confirmed a few people will have floats, that there will be the traditional dance teams, a few motorcycle groups and, most importantly, Santa Claus will be there.

“We’re number one on his list,” MacKay says with a big smile on his face. 

Last year, the rotary club organized a “reverse parade” that saw the floats set up stationary in the Bracebridge Fairgrounds with nearly 1,000 cars driving through the 500-metre route. MacKay says it “fit a gap” the area was facing, noting that all the other parades were cancelled. “People were very patient with it and they loved the fact that we have something,” he adds but goes on to say that nothing beats a traditional parade.

“You won’t be stuck in your car this year,” MacKay jokes.

The rotary club still needs to file applications with the Town of Bracebridge for the road closures before. MacKay says with everything coming together so quickly they will also firm up the protocols that will be in place in the coming weeks.

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