Santa Claus comes to Norwich
Sirens were wailing and children laughing as the Norwich Santa Claus Parade rolled through town Saturday morning, concluding with a float dedicated to Santa and his reindeer.
It’s all about the kids, said Ross Pollock, District Chief in the town of Norwich.
“Kids sitting on Santa’s lap,” said Pollock, nodding toward a long line of children in the fire hall after the parade. “Santa does a good job relating with the kids, and if you have a good Santa, that’s the best part.”
Organized by the Norwich firefighters, and supported by the Norwich Optimist Club and Norwich Musical Society back at the hall, Saturday’s parade featured more than 20 entries, including Emily Stowe Public School, Norwich Merchants junior hockey team, Norwich minor hockey, service clubs, churches, politicians and businesses. Many of them handed out candy to hundreds of people on the sidewalks.
“The fire department has been putting this parade on for probably 40 years,” said Pollock, “and I’ve been part of it for 30 or better. I’ve been on the fire department 33 years.
“It’s been a tradition in Norwich, the fire department has always looked after the Santa Claus float - and usually one of the members has played that part - and it’s always been a pretty good success. Numbers, it’s hard to tell when they’re spread out so far, but it’s just a tradition that we do every year. It works out well, we have a pretty good group of guys.”
In past years, they have tried it as a night-time parade - similar to parades in Burgessville, Woodstock and Port Burwell - but they switched back to daytime.
“In my opinion, I’d rather have it during the day,” said Pollock. “The lights are really nice at night but the safety can sometimes be in question, in my opinion.”
It was the second year the Norwich Musical Society band played live music at the fire hall after the parade.
“They found this works really well for them and it’s kind of nice to have the Christmas music while the kids are waiting in line. It works out well. In the old days they used to march (in the parade), then they used to get on a float and ride in the parade.”
Norwich Optimist Club serves hot chocolate and supplies candy for people visiting Santa Claus after the parade.
“They stepped up, which is great,” said Pollock.
Kaitlyn Ryksen tells Santa Claus what she wants for Christmas Saturday at the Norwich hall.