A mild Beachburg Parade of Lights
BEACHBURG - An usually mild December was ushered in Saturday night as folks came out to welcome the season with the 34th annual Beachburg Santa Claus Parade of Lights.
Hosted by the Beachburg Volunteer Firefighters Association and the Whitewater Fire Department's Beachburg Station, this popular Christmastime tradition attracted some 20 floats and vehicles that included local businesses, schools and groups from around the township.
This is an event that the department looks forward to each year as the firefighters purchase candy to fill roughly 300 bags for the kids waiting along the one-kilometre parade route which began at Robertson Drive and continued along the Beachburg road ending at the village's historic fairgrounds. While last year's parade was bitterly cold, the region experienced much warmer temperatures with most of the first snowfall disappearing from the frontyards along Beachburg's main boulevard.
“I think we will have big crowds because the weather is so nice,” said Capt. Curry Anderson. “This has been a long-standing tradition.”
One of the more creative floats was the official Whitewater Region entry, a haywagon with brightly decorated pinetrees. The float also celebrated this past summer's Street Strut festival, as well as the new corporate logo for the township. With many communities going for daytime parades, Whitewater Mayor Hal Johnson said he is proud that Beachburg continues with a nightime event.
“There is something special about this,” said Johnson. “The floats really do stand out.”
Among the entries were Beachburg Public School, the Beachburg Lions Club, Historic Ross Museum, Whitewater Sno-Goers, the Beachburg Arena and the Beachburg Off Road Cycling Association, who took advantage of the balmy weather to deploy a small cycling contingent down the parade route. The most patriotic float was a 1978 convertible covered in Canadian flags driven by Willi Schmidt, who owns Willi's Ranch and Stables in Laurentian Valley. Standing ontop of the vehicle was a horse statue drapped in lights. The ranch is getting ready for their winter season which includes hosting sleigh-riding parties for families and groups, something that is unthinkable with the current lack of a snowbase even in the country.
“There is going to be snow,” Schmidt predicted.
Bringing up the end of the parade was Santa Claus, himself, waving to the crowds from a float built by the Bullpen Canteen. Later, Claus held court at the fire hall meeting with the kids before returning to his North Pole base of operations.