By Sue Tiffin
Haliburton’s Santa Claus Parade is a special event for Jim Frost.
He’s been co-ordinating the beloved parade – hosted by the Haliburton BIA and organized by the Haliburton and District Lions Club – since 2001 and was involved with the then-Sunday afternoon parade as early as 1999.
But he first took the parade in before he even lived in Haliburton.
“We had made a deal to purchase this house and we hadn’t taken possession yet we came up to see the Santa Claus parade because we wanted to see what this community was like” he said. “It was on a Sunday afternoon before we took possession. Marilyn [my wife] and I came up brought two of our sons we watched the parade. We just wanted to see what kind of community atmosphere [Haliburton] had. And it was great. We thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Frost said the Santa Claus Parade has been meaningful for him outside of Haliburton too. He used to watch Toronto’s parade with his family at that sweet spot in front of the Royal Ontario Museum touring the museum after. But Haliburton’s parade is his focus now.
“Somebody mentioned to me only in a small town would you have spectators shouting to somebody that’s riding on a float – ‘hi Jane’ or ‘hi Bill’” laughed Frost. ”You see people that you know on the float.”
Frost has been co-ordinating this year’s Haliburton Village Santa Claus Parade to be held on Friday Nov. 22 at 6:30 p.m. since the spring taking phone calls from those planning to take part on a float and lining up the participating bands. On the night of the parade his grandson and son help Frost and the Lions Club with the marshalling the behind-the-scenes organizing that helps it all run smoothly for the crowds that line the streets. Still despite their volunteer work Frost credits the importance of the BIA.
“This is the BIA parade and the Lions Club organizes it on behalf of the BIA” he said. “The BIA is very important. They pay for everything they pay the bands the advertising and promotion it’s really their event.”
This year’s parade theme is Peace on Earth suggested by fellow Lion Gord Kidd.
“He said in this particular environment this year there’s so much strife going on” said Frost.
Additional safety protocols have been introduced this year including keeping spectators a safe distance from moving vehicles ensuring that those on the floats stay seated and that items distributed to parade watchers are handed out rather than thrown from floats.
This year the parade route will be free of parked cars along the side of the road from Pine Avenue to York Street to allow for better views for spectators and to enable better visibility of the crowd.
Frost notes that parking lots will allow for views for those staying in their cars and said seats at the Kosy Korner front window are always in high demand.
Prior to watching the parade spectators are welcome to a tree lighting and carols at the “town tree” which takes place at 6 p.m. Float entries should meet at the intersection of Pine Avenue and George Street near the parking lot of Haliburton United Church between approximately 5:45 p.m. and 6 p.m. The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. sharp.
For those interested in participating in the parade contact Jim Frost parade co-ordinator at 705-457-4031 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about the history of the Santa Claus Parade float before you see it come to town visit www.haliburtonlions.com/haliburton-santa-float.