After a seven-year hiatus, the Cowichan Lake Christmas parade will return to the community this year.
“It seems like Christmas has been a non-entity in the past few years, but we want a resurgence of it,” says Ron McKenzie, President of Cowichan Lake Chamber of Commerce.
McKenzie said that two years ago there was little interest in Christmas celebrations, but things are changing.
“What happened last year surprised all of us. Because Santa Claus was here we had well over 200 people and it was fantastic.”
And there was even more interest this year.
“We’ve had several people and businesses in town ask about getting the parade back,” says McKenzie.
“And we got a number of people asking about bringing back the Christmas tree. We’re going to try it and see what happens.”
The festivities will take place the evening of Nov. 29. The parade entrants will marshal at Darling Tire on Neva Road at 5 p.m. and the parade will begin at 5:45 p.m.
“Hopefully there will be a number of decorated vehicles and people walking,” says McKenzie. “Santa Clause of course will be the last float.”
The parade will continue down South Shore Road to the Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Centre, where at 7 p.m. Santa Claus will commence the tree light-up and meet the children in a Santa’s Workshop-style Christmas market.
McKenzie hopes people from the lake communities will get involved with the festivities, especially by signing up for the parade.
“We can have walkers, we can have organizations, it can be anything. We want to make it a big event,” says Katherine Worsley, Coordinator for Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce Visitor Business Centre. “Everyone’s welcome.”
For McKenzie and Worsley, the bigger the celebration the better. Many local organizations and clubs have already been asked to participate including the ATV club, the Retreads, Fire Rescue from around the lake, cadets who live in the area and more. Invitations have also been extended to organizations from Duncan and Ladysmith.
“Schnitzer Steel is one that’s looking to come on, and other businesses are welcome. If they have floats, we’d like to see them get down here. And other royalty from the other communities, because we have the Lady of the Lake here,” says Worsley.
The most important thing for both Worsley and McKenzie is that this event will bring the community out to participate and have a lot of fun.
“We’ll take sign-up right up until Nov. 26, the Wednesday before the event,” says Worsley. If you enter the parade, make sure to tell organizers what type of vehicle you’ll have and what your float will be.
The event is also looking for volunteers to help in many different ways.
If you are interested in signing up or volunteering, stop by the Cowichan Lake District Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Centre at Saywell Park. You can also call 250-749-3244 for more information.