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Tillsonburg’s Santa Claus parade continues to grow

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It keeps getting bigger and bigger.

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Marshalling for the Tillsonburg Community Christmas parade on Saturday, Nov. 20 is still days away and the number of parade floats, trucks and list of participants has not stopped growing since a grassroots volunteer committee first started promoting the parade.

Just over a week ago, they had estimated 14-15 floats. Now that number has grown to 36-plus. And there could be more.

“We have a lot of floats, a lot of trucks – it’s a lot bigger than we expected it to be,” said Cathy Ryan, a member of the organizing committee. “We still have people asking to join. He (Chris Kersten) has had a lot come forward just since last week. He’s got a full list of everybody and where they go in the parade, and he’s going to the parking lot (on Tuesday) to figure out staging.”

Saturday’s 1.5km parade starts at 11 a.m. from the Avondale church parking lot. The parade route – which is new this year – will head south to Oxford Street, west to Broadway, north to Bridge Street, east (at Canadian Tire) to Lisgar Avenue, and then south back to the starting/finishing point area.

Food and toy donations will be collected by two Salvation Army parade entries – a tractor with a bucket and a ’72 truck. Salvation Army elves will be accepting donations for its food bank along the route.

So bring food and donations – the Tillsonburg Firefighters, depending on availability, might also be in the parade, and they collect food for the Helping Hand Food Bank every year.

Some town dignitaries and the Oxford MP Dave MacKenzie also plan to be in the parade. There should also be an antique fire truck or two.

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There won’t be any bands but there will be Christmas music.

“We have asked every participant in their vehicles to play their Christmas music,” said Ryan. “On Santa’s float we will have a DJ to play the Christmas music as Santa comes along.”

After the parade, children will be able to enjoy hot chocolate and have their picture taken with Santa (not on his lap) in the staging area (possibly outside The Ripped Club).

“I think it’s going to be a really good parade,” said Ryan. “I’m excited about it.”

The downtown area will be decorated for the Rogers Hometown Hockey weekend (Saturday-Monday), which includes 11-5 festivals on Saturday and Sunday outside the Tillsonburg Community Centre.

cabbott@postmedia.com

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