Sidney Sparkles takes on the town tonight

Two worthy projects canvass during parade of lights tonight in Sidney

Lighted trucks make their way down Beacon Avenue during last year’s Sidney Sparkles Santa Parade. This year’s event happens Saturday evening

Despite the chill in the air, cold hard coinage will warm the heart during Sidney’s annual parade this evening.

Sidney Sparkles traditionally has the Sidney Lions Food Bank canvassing for change and non-perishable food items along the parade route.

“The parade is huge. It kicks off our real Christmas season,” said Bev Elder, administrator for the Sidney Lions Food Bank. Last year, Peninsula Mission Community Church volunteers collected nearly $3,000 in change.

“Which we can double,” Elder pointed out. “And that’s just spare change. It’s amazing how much spare change adds up.”

This year they’ll have some fellow canvassers along the parade route, thanks to Grade 12 student Helen Roy.

She and her Parkland secondary school cohorts will be out canvassing to purchase nets.

Roy spearheaded the school’s drive for the Spread the Net Student Challenge, a cause created by former federal politician Belinda Stronach and TV host Rick Mercer after a 2006 trip to Africa.

“Spread the Net purchases and distributes insecticide-treated bed nets for the prevention of malaria in Africa,” said Roy. “It’s such a great chance to make a difference, because one net costs $10 and protects five people for up to five years. It’s a great way to bring the school and the community together to focus on one cause.”

As an added bonus, the school that raises the most funds will get a visit from the Canadian TV icon to film a segment for The Rick Mercer Report on CBC.

The Peninsula Celebrations’ Sidney Sparkles Santa Parade starts at 5 p.m. tonight (Dec. 3) and runs along Beacon Avenue and Second Street. At 6:15 p.m. the annual SailPast of Lighted Boats flows along the Sidney waterfront. The sailing light show is best viewed from Port Sidney to Tulista Park.

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