Head downtown on Friday night for the annual Santa Claus Parade, when Wetaskiwin firefighters will bring Santa for a visit! Dale Aitchison photo

Head downtown on Friday night for the annual Santa Claus Parade, when Wetaskiwin firefighters will bring Santa for a visit! Dale Aitchison photo

Wetaskiwin firefighters welcome extra-special guest for Friday’s holiday parade

New, unwrapped toy and food bank donations collected along the route

Your Wetaskiwin firefighters are polishing up the engine to prepare for a special guest next week and they couldn’t be more excited. In fact, it’s the 11th time they’ve hosted this particular visitor who, despite being quite busy this time of year, makes the time to visit children of Wetaskiwin and their families.

Can you guess who it is?

Head downtown on Friday night to find out, as the annual Santa Claus Parade lights up city streets with floats, entertainment and of course … Santa!

To let the reindeer rest up for the big day next month, Santa will catch a ride aboard a Wetaskiwin fire engine, so you know your firefighters will be on their best behaviour.

In fact, they’ll also be helping Santa by collecting new toys and gifts for the Secret Santa program through Wetaskiwin’s Family and Community Support Services, and non-perishable food donations for the food bank.

“The community has always been so generous and we’re just thrilled to kick off the holiday season with all our local families, and Santa Claus!” says firefighter Kyle Kinnunen, organizer of this year’s parade.

Santa will take a break from the North Pole to visit with Wetaskiwin families Friday after the parade. Photo courtesy Wetaskiwin Fire Services

Santa will take a break from the North Pole to visit with Wetaskiwin families Friday after the parade. Photo courtesy Wetaskiwin Fire Services

And regardless of what the weather brings, be prepared for a fantastic show, beginning at 6:45 p.m.

“We usually have about 3o to 35 entries, plus the fire department,” Kinnunen says. “The parade typically lasts about a half-hour, and Baker Funeral Chapel will have a hot chocolate stand set up at 53rd and 50th streets beforehand to keep things cosy.”

As firefighters walk the parade route, they’ll collect donations gift and food donations from spectators.

“It really is a wonderful opportunity to come together as community, to celebrate the holiday season, and support our neighbours who might need a little extra help this season,” Kinnunen says.

The parade will begin at 6:45 p.m. Nov. 25, and travel east on Main Street.

For those who’d like to join in on the fun of the parade, email wffsantaparade@gmail.com, ideally by Wednesday, Nov. 23, to help organizers plan the staging or click here for registration.

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