Fingers are crossed for good weather this Saturday night (Nov. 29) and the annual Sidney Sparkles Santa Claus Parade and Lighted Boat Parade.
Volunteers with the Peninsula Celebrations Society are once again hosting the festive parades, after starting the event approximately 30 years ago. Society president Sheilah Fea says the weather is, to date, looking good for Saturday night.
“It’s supposed to be good,” she said, “but we’ve had it in snow and rain. The only thing that stops it would be wind, but that only affects the Lighted Boat Parade.
“We’ve been really lucky,” Fea continued. “We’ve only cancelled the sail past once in those 30 years.”
At 30-plus years, Sidney’s Santa Claus Parade is older then even the City of Victoria’s annual seasonal parade — which has caused some conflict over timing this year. Fea said Victoria’s event has normally been held the week before Sidney’s, but this year due to organizational changes, the Victoria parade is happening on the same night.
“It’s annoying for organizers and people who want to be in our parade, their parade and more,” Fea said, adding some of the entries in Sidney’s event plan to complete the route and head into Victoria — but not too fast as they could lose lights and decorations.
“Hopefully, this gets worked out next year.”
The Sidney Sparkles Parade had 55 entries registered as of this week, a collection of trucks, local dignitaries, business and military marchers. The Lighted Boat Parade had 12 entries, with possibly more to come by Saturday. Those numbers are a little smaller than last year, Fea noted, mostly due to the parade conflict. That said, Fea noted the event will be bright and fun as in past years and will feature a visit from the Jolly Old Elf.
The Sidney Sparkles Santa Claus Parade starts at 5 p.m. and will last about an hour. The route starts along Resthaven Drive and turns onto Beacon Avenue. It runs the length of Beacon, turning right onto Second Street and ending at Ocean Avenue.
Once the parade completes its route, people are encouraged to move to Beacon and Bevan wharves and the Sidney waterfront around Beacon Park. From there, they will be able to witness the Lighted Boat Parade, which starts at least 15 minutes after the Santa Claus parade.