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Optimists determined to spread Christmas cheer despite parade cancellation

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Tillsonburg and Area Optimist Club could not hold its traditional Santa Claus Parade in November because of ongoing pandemic-related restrictions.

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But club members want people to know they will be “honouring the parade” with an event on Saturday, Nov. 21.

Final details will be released soon.

“We are being tight-lipped about our plans for the parade this year,” said parade co-chair Mandi Byrnes.

“We can say it won’t look like it usually does, but we are still keeping with tradition and working hard to make something happen.

“As always, it will take place on the third Saturday in November, which is on the 21st this year.”

In September, about a week after the Woodstock and Ingersoll cancelled their Christmas parades, the Tillsonburg and Area Optimist Club posted on its Facebook page, “Just because the Ontario Government won’t allow parades, doesn’t mean that your Optimists aren’t thinking outside the box!”

The challenge has been thinking outside the box while staying within the rules – when the rules are constantly changing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because of the pandemic, we have to follow the rules and guidelines set out by the Ontario government, the health unit and the town of Tillsonburg. Our top priority is to make sure we keep our community and volunteers safe,” said Byrnes.

“We are also focused on making this accessible to everyone no matter what your personal comfort level is.

“This year has been difficult for everyone and just like their name, the Optimists are just trying to spread a little Christmas cheer.”

More details will be released soon, perhaps as early as next week.

cabbott@postmedia.com

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