The Winter Lights Festival and Santa Claus Parade will be bigger than ever this year.
Organizers are pulling out “all” the stops to provide a full day of fun this Saturday that will roll over into the evening.
The Studio Theatre is coming on board with two improv/musical shows at the Limelight Theatre, one in the afternoon, and one in the early evening.
Saturday morning the Santa Claus Parade will muster in the parking lot behind the Cariboo Memorial Complex and begin travelling at 11:30 a.m. down Seventh Avenue and then along Oliver Street to Spirit Square.
The parade will be bigger than ever with the addition of several floats, the Lake City Secondary School band, service clubs, a school group, Scouts, Guides and the people of the day, Mr. and Mrs. Claus riding in a horse-drawn wagon accompanied by several of their helpers, and favourite reindeer.
“It’s never too late to join the fun,” says BIA executive director Judy Albin. “Let us know if you would like to be in the parade.”
From noon when the parade arrives in Spirit Square, there will be all kinds of music and entertainment for kids and adults continuing on until about 4:30 p.m. when Santa will flip the switch to light up the community for the holiday season.
Santa will be in Spirit Square all afternoon where children, and kids at heart, can give them their wish list for Christmas.
There won’t be an official photographer this year but people are invited to bring along their own cameras to take pictures.
“Everyone who visits Santa goes away with a candy cane,” says Laura Bardell, one of the event co-organizers.
“Were trying to make it bigger and better and even more fun.”
There will be games for kids, such as the beanbag toss, under the big top tent with about 100 prizes to give away, as well as musical entertainment all afternoon.
There will be hot chocolate, apple cider, and popcorn available for free or if people wish they can also make a donation which will help out families in need this Christmas through the Child Development Centre and Salvation Army food bank.
Oliver Street between First and Second avenues will be closed to vehicle traffic during the festivities except for the popular horse-drawn wagon rides that will once again circle the block.
Entertainers will include Oren Barter, Rosetta Paxton and friends, the Williams Lake Seniors’ Choir, Williams Lake Men’s Choir and the Williams Lake Community Band.
Chilcotin Road Elementary School students will also be returning with a new flashmob dance.
Instead of doing their dance during the parade as they did last year the students will be performing on the Spirit Square stage.
There are usually also a few holiday characters dancing about to lend a little more levity to the occasion including Santa’s favourite reindeer Rudolph.
There will also be several food vendors on site where people can buy lunch and some craft and artisan vendors, Bardell says.
The Studio Theatre will be hosting two improv shows in the Limelight Theatre.
The first show is at 3 p.m. The interactive show will be about an hour then the music and merriment returns to Spirit Square where Santa will light up the community Christmas tree for the holiday season.
The Studio Theatre will host a second improv show with musical guests starting at 6 p.m. in the Limelight Theatre.
The second show starts at 6 p.m. and will be by donation of a non-perishable food item for the food bank.
There will be a special performance at the 6 p.m. show by the Lake City Secondary School Band.
Bardell says the event will be bigger this year because Hub Barton International Insurance has joined up with the BIA to host the event instead of hosting a separate Barton Family Christmas event as they have done in previous years.
She says they have also had a lot of support from local businesses in providing prizes for children and other needed items such as plywood flooring, and heaters for the tents.
“A lot of businesses have helped out,” says an appreciative Bardell.