News Local

Santa Claus came to town

By Ryan Paulsen, The Daily Observer

With more than 20 floats and nearly 400 individual participants, this year’s Santa Claus Parade was one of the biggest in Petawawa’s history, carrying on a tradition of growth that’s been the trend for the past few years.

“I’ve been doing this for three years now,” says parade chairwoman and Petawawa Lions Club first vice-president Jacqueline Cotton,” and every year since then the number of participants has increased by 20 per cent.”

Arriving in style on Santa’s own float, alongside Petawawa Mayor Bob Sweet and Renfrew-Nipissing-Pembroke MP Cheryl Gallant, MPP John Yakabuski said he was amazed by the number of people lining the lengthy parade route, which snaked its way through town from the Petawawa Plaza to the Civic Centre.

“I’ve never been to a Petawawa parade with a crowd like this. It was great!”

In addition to a perfect way to get in the Christmas spirit, and a fitting kick-off to the Santa Claus Parade season in the Ottawa Valley, the day was also a great way to collect some tangible goodwill for the community, whether through non-perishable food donations during and after the parade itself or raffles and draws held by the Lions Club with stockings full of gift cards and tasty treats aplenty up for grabs.

In all, the raffle, chocolate and hot dog sales raised roughly $150 for the Lions Club’s various community initiatives, and more than 200 pounds of food was collected for local food banks.

The Petawawa Figure Skating Club was awarded the plaque for best overall float. The “best theme” award went to the Petawawa Boy Scouts, Starz in Motion Dance Studio won “most enthusiastic,” and the Knights of Columbus won in the “best traditional float” category. Sheila Clarke and Wayne Hoffman won the “most original” award for their costumed appearance as War of 1812 riders.

Perhaps the best way to sum up the event was found by five-year-old Rylee Ballman, who danced her way through the entire parade with the Starz In Motion float and then waited at the end to catch a glimpse of Santa himself.

“It was a lot of fun!”

Ryan Paulsen is a Daily Observer multimedia journalist.

Twitter: @PRyanPaulsen.

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