Get ready for some exciting parade changes in Chilliwack this Saturday.
The downtown Christmas parade has been reborn in its 11th year.
With new host sponsors on-board, and a few tweaks to keep it fresh, the parade will now be known as the Chilliwack Santa Claus Parade.
New in the hosting role this year are Star 98.3 FM and sister station SONiC 107.5 FM, who effectively stepped in to save the well-loved community event last year, when the Downtown BIA decided it could no longer be host sponsor.
The parade festivities will once again be capably emceed by the charming and funny duo, Scott Riley and Lisa Stevens, of Star FM.
“This year, we’re taking the parade to the next level,” said Melanie Green, station manager at Star FM.
“We’re proud and excited to be sitting in the host chair, and we really wanted to take it all up a notch to reflect the wonderful community of Chilliwack.”
Green happily remembered being part of the parade fun when she was young, and her children have also had the experience of being in the parade.
“Now it’s a chance for more Chilliwack families to make some memories.”
Parade goers will notice the focus has shifted somewhat to emphasize beautifully decorated floats.
There are about 70 parade floats registered so far, which is down slightly but they’ve changed the format somewhat to stress quality over quantity.
“We’ve asked the float entrants to make it more about the festive holiday season,” Green said.
City officials were thrilled to have Star take over the hosting duties and planning, said parade organizer Jessica Clark. City of Chilliwack and Chilliwack Ford are providing resources and support.
“It’s going to be worthwhile to get in on the pre-parade excitement,” Clark said coyly.
This year the spotlight is on the live entertainment kicking off at 6 p.m. at Five Corners.
Are you ready for this? There’s a mystery guest.
The Progress Arts Desk tried to extract the name of the artist, using all the interrogation techniques known to professional media, but event organizers are keeping mum on their surprise musical act set to take the stage at Five Corners at 6:15 p.m.
“We’re thrilled about our special guest, but we’re trying to keep it a secret to build the excitement,” said Clark.
Parade goers will also see some of the Chilliwack Players’ Guild members performing carols, like those in their new original production, ‘Tis the Season, and other seasonal entertainment. Don’t miss the start of the parade with the The Fraser Cheam Regional Pipe Band taking part for the first time in years, coming directly after the resplendent RCL Branch #280 Colour Party.
“There will be quite a presence to kick off the parade with pride,” Clark said.
The arrival of Santa is always one of the most anticipated parts of the parade, and the elves will have something special for the kids.
Chilliwack Fire officials will be on hand collecting non-perishable food items for the local food bank.
Chilliwack Santa Claus Parade, Dec. 3,
Pre-parade entertainment begins at 6 p.m, with a special guest hitting the stage at 6:15 p.m. Parade starts at 7.