Santa parade, toy drive make it a happy Ho-Ho-Holiday for local children

As Wetaskiwin welcomed the first dusting of snow last week, local firefighters were busy preparing for a visit from one of their most special guests of the year.

On Nov. 24, the Wetaskiwin Fire Department kicks off the holiday season with the Firefighters Santa Claus Parade along 50 Avenue.

And good news for local children: the crew has received word that the parade’s namesake will be able to take a break from his North Pole toy shop to greet children from atop the Wetaskiwin Fire Department’s ladder truck, confirms Deputy Fire Chief Alex Plant.

“The parade is really one of the feature events of the year in Wetaskiwin,” Plant says, noting firefighters enjoy connecting with children and families along the route. “It’s just a wonderful way to bring the community together to welcome the Christmas season.”

The 12th annual parade, which begins at Baker Funeral Chapel on 50 Avenue around 6:30 p.m., and delivers Santa to the grounds by City Hall about an hour later, also supports local children and families in need.

“Our firefighters, along with those from neighbouring areas and community peace officers, walk along the parade route, collecting donations of new toys, non-perishable food and cash for the Wetaskiwin’s Family and Community Support Services and the Salvation Army,” Plant says.

Registration is now open for those who’d like to join this year’s parade – simply fill out the participation form here.

Toy Drive Dec. 2 at Canadian Tire

Firefighters will also be at the Wetaskiwin Canadian Tire Dec. 2 to collect donations for the annual toy drive, Plant says, noting co-host Canadian Tire is offering 10 per cent off toys that will be donated to the drive.

Stop by the parking lot from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. to drop off donations of new, unwrapped toys to be distributed to local children. Food and cash donations are always welcome, too, Plant notes. All will help ensure the holidays are a little brighter for local children in need.

Last year’s toy drive event – the first held in addition to the parade – was just magical, he says. “People would come with shopping carts full of toys, or drive up and pull $50 or $75 from their wallets – the outpouring from the community was really quite unbelievable.”

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