By Robyn Roste/Special to Langley Advance Times
Christmas arrives in Aldergrove this weekend with the return of the Light Up Parade.
On Saturday, Dec. 11 at 6 p.m. the annual parade returns to downtown Aldergrove and its traditional Fraser Highway route, confirmed Karen Long, parade coordinator.
“We’ve had a lot of cool entries so far,” Long said.
The Christmas parade usually attracts between 30 and 40 float applications from local businesses and organizations.
She’s optimistic they’ll have similar numbers this weekend.
Travelling east between 270th and 273rd Streets, this year’s parade will be led by the Royal Canadian Legion colour guard, followed by a variety of floats including the International Movie Services showcasing an array of military vehicles, a horse drill team and – of course – Santa and Mrs. Claus in their sleigh ending the festive event.
There is still time for businesses or members of the public to enter a float in the parade, Long said.
This year’s Canada Day parade in Aldergrove attracted upwards of 5,000 spectators, and parade organizers are hopeful the same numbers will turn out for the Christmas Light Up Parade.
“We go rain or shine, snow or sleet,” Long said.
“If parents are willing to bundle up their kids for the parade, then the least we can do is have it for them. It brings so much Christmas and community spirit. I think we can all use a bit of that.”
To ensure a safe and fun evening, Long encourages attendees to practice physical distancing, wait for parade participants to come to the sidewalk to hand out candy and to dress appropriately for the weather.
This year’s parade is highly anticipated, she said, after the 2020 Christmas Light Up Parade was unable to take place at the last minute due to the pandemic.
Organizers were able to quickly change plans and turned the 2020 event into a fundraiser for transition housing and the Aldergrove Food Bank.
“We were cancelled in the 11th hour, but it turned into a good news story,” said Long.
“We’ve been doing this for over 25 years. People who have been here that long know it, and when we didn’t have the parade, it was quite a disappointment. We’re glad we could pivot to something that was successful.”
Before, during, and following this year’s parade, there will also be free family fun and entertainment at Aldergrove Plaza, located at 272nd Street and Fraser Highway (the former Alder Inn site).
Carol singing will be led from a stage, and onlookers are invited to sing along.
There will also be hot chocolate, popcorn, and a number of activity stations set up to visit, including one tent hosted by the Aldergrove Community Association where kids can write and send letters to Santa.
Donations will also be collected for the Aldergrove Food Bank and the Red Cross to assist those who were impacted by the recent floods.
“Cash donations to the Red Cross will be matched by the province, so that’s the best thing to give,” said Long. “If we can double the cash that’s donated, that would be pretty amazing.”
There are many reasons to be in downtown Aldergrove between 5 and 8 p.m. on Saturday.
In addition to music and entertainment, Long suggested there are also many local businesses such as restaurants to visit and support.
For more information about the free family happenings in Aldergrove on Saturday, visit aldergrovefair.ca/christmas.
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