Christmastime in Chilliwack is going to be a lot brighter and merrier this year compared to the last two years.
The beloved Rotary Christmas Parade will once again roll through the streets of downtown Chilliwack marking the first one since 2019. And if this year’s parade is anything like those of previous years, it will be “spectacular,” said Gail Smit, parade co-ordinator.
“I’m most excited about celebrating again as a community (and) coming together and doing something that we can all enjoy,” she said. “It’s time to have some fun.”
The festive event is set for Dec. 3.
In 2020 and 2021, the parade was cancelled due to COVID. An online Christmas show replaced the parade, but it wasn’t anything like attending past in-person parades.
She said people involved over the years have been “extraordinary” and “very dedicated to putting on a high-calibre parade.”
And despite a two-year gap, this year is no different.
People have already registered to be in the parade, plus there’s a team of about 12 committee members who are organizing the event and some volunteers already lined up from local Rotary Clubs.
“It’s so wonderful to see it because it isn’t always that way in the world,” Smit said. “It takes a village to put on this parade.”
The biggest change for the holiday parade this year is the route which will be begin and end at Chilliwack Secondary School.
In previous years, the start of the parade was at the Landing Sports Centre. But since boulevards were installed along Spadina Avenue, that location is no longer feasible for the parade route.
The new 2022 route is: west on Yale Road and onto Wellington Avenue, north on College Street and onto Young Road, and east on Reece Avenue.
Also new this year is online registration and payment. Folks can sign up at chilliwackchristmasparade.ca. Non-profits pay $25 and businesses $100.
Smit said the committee is looking forward to seeing how creative people get with their floats.
“We want to wow all the spectators.”
This is the first year Smit is taking part in the Chilliwack Rotary Christmas Parade, but it’s not the first time she’s helped organize events in other communities.
“I really love being part of building something that creates community and enjoyable experiences.”
Chilliwack, she said, stands out above other cities.
“I want the sponsors and the community as a whole to know that this is an incredible place. There’s something different about Chilliwack. It’s very unique and incredible.”
The Chilliwack Rotary Christmas Parade will take place Saturday, Dec. 3 and it’s presented by Mountainview Harley-Davidson and sponsored by the City of Chilliwack. Floats will leave Chilliwack Secondary School at 5:30 p.m. For more info, including registration, how to get involved, and the parade route, go to chilliwackchristmasparade.ca. The registration deadline is Nov. 26.
More volunteers are needed and pre-parade entertainment is in the works.
“I hope to have a parade that the City of Chilliwack is proud of and I believe with where we’re at right now, having missed it for two years, it’ll be really special. Very special,” Smit said.
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