Santa set to ar­rive in Novem­ber

Af­ter a lengthy hia­tus, the sec­ond Santa Claus pa­rade in two years will march down Cen­tral to kick off the Christ­mas shop­ping sea­son

Prince Albert Daily Herald - - CLASSIFIEDS - PETER LOZINSKI

Christ­mas clas­sics The Year With­out a Santa Claus and Santa Claus is Com­ing to Town imag­ine an al­ter­nate re­al­ity with­out Kris Kringle.

For sev­eral years, that was a lived re­al­ity rev­ellers in P.A. hop­ing to catch a glimpse of the big man on his sleigh cruis­ing the down­town on pa­rade.

Last year, the Gate­way Mall and the Prince Al­bert Down­town Busi­ness Im­prove­ment Dis­trict (PADBID) changed that, bring­ing back the beloved tra­di­tion.

This year, Santa will re­turn once more.

Be­fore the pa­rade went on hia­tus, it was a much-loved Christ­mas tra­di­tion.

“When it dis­ap­peared, there was all kinds of peo­ple dis­ap­pointed,” said PADBID ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor Rick Orr.

“Last year when it re­turned, there seemed to be an in­stant ex­cite­ment about it.”

Orr re­counted his pa­rade ex­pe­ri­ence from last year. He was not yet in­volved with PADBID, but he and his wife headed down­town to take in the fes­tiv­i­ties. They parked be­hind the CIBC and walked out to the street.

“It was pugged,” Orr said.

“Peo­ple started to come the last half hour and just take over the street. The thing I no­ticed was ev­ery­one had smiles on their faces. Kids were laugh­ing and cheer­ing.”

The warm weather helped draw large crowds last year, as un­sea­son­ably warm tem­per­a­tures pro­vided a com­fort­able cli­mate for sit­ting out on Cen­tral.

Re­gard­less of the turnout, the mall knew it was an event they would con­tinue into 2017.

“We just wanted to do it,” said Donna Hordyski, mar­ket­ing co­or­di­na­tor at Gate­way Mall.

“It was a given. There were no ifs, ands ors or buts. If it had been 35 below last year, we would still be do­ing it again this year.”

The pa­rade marks a joy­ous time for the mall and its ten­ants. It’s the of­fi­cial ar­rival of Santa to Prince Al­bert and to the mall, the kick­off of the busy Christ­mas shop­ping sea­son.

“It helps us to con­tinue be­ing Prince Al­bert’s com­mu­nity shop­ping cen­tre,” Hordyski said. “It brings us to the fore­front of be­ing com­mu­nity-minded, and, along with the down­town as­so­ci­a­tion and the casino, be­ing good com­mu­nity cit­i­zens.”

The pa­rade is an ex­cit­ing event for PADBID as well. It brings peo­ple down­town where they can visit nearby ven­dors or en­joy a hot bev­er­age.

“From our board’s point of view, there was such pos­i­tive feed­back from the mer­chants and the pub­lic, we hoped we could do it again,” Orr said.

“It’s time to come out and get think­ing Santa.”

The casino joined on to the pa­rade this year as a ma­jor spon­sor. It will be pro­vid­ing candy bags for chil­dren, a mas­cot, vol­un­teers and maybe even a float.

Sev­eral other or­ga­ni­za­tions have also al­ready ex­pressed in­ter­est in join­ing this year’s pa­rade.

That’s why PADBID wanted to get the word out now – to give par­tic­i­pants time to pre­pare their en­tries into the 2017 pa­rade.

“I’ve had a lot of in­ter­est just this past week from or­ga­ni­za­tions want­ing to get in­volved,” said Lorri Wiberg, of­fice ad­min­is­tra­tor and event co­or­di­na­tor.

She said about 15 or­ga­ni­za­tions have ex­pressed in­ter­est. She ex­pects more to sign on as the weather gets colder and Christ­mas be­gins to creep nearer.

For Orr, a strong show­ing at the Santa pa­rade is a sign of even big­ger win­ter events to come.

“We’re hop­ing in fu­ture years we can have more fes­tive events down­town,” he said.

“In past years there have been win­ter fests, one year they had sleigh rides — th­ese are things we might be look­ing at in the fu­ture. Hav­ing the pa­rade al­lows peo­ple to start think­ing of things they’d like to do to en­cour­age peo­ple to come down and en­joy our down­town.”

Hordyski, who had Santa’s ear dur­ing a Christ­mas in July event, said the big man’s ex­cited too.

“He’s very keenly aware of what we are do­ing to pro­mote the event for chil­dren, and for the cit­i­zens of Prince Al­bert.”

The Novem­ber 25 pa­rade lines up at 9:30 a.m. on River Street and be­gins at 10:30 and heads down Cen­tral to 14th Street East.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the pa­rade, call Donna at the Gate­way Mall or Lorri at the PADBID of­fice.

Santa’s pa­rade will roll through P.A. again this win­ter.

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