This sort of sneaked up on us; the big Moonlight Madness/Santa Claus Parade/Light-Up Slave Lake event is happening this week! It’s the annual kick-off to the Christmas Shopping season organized by the Slave Lake & District Chamber of Commerce for the past 20 years or so.
Here’s the lowdown from Chamber manager Laurie Renauer:
“The theme this year is ‘A Canadian Christmas,’ Renauer says. That gives parade participants something to work with when coming up with decoration ideas. Speaking of which, the Santa Claus Parade marshalling area is at the Travelodge parking lot, and is scheduled to start moving north on Main St. at 6:30 p.m. this Friday evening. Registration is online (and free) says Renauer. Check it out at slavelakechamber.com
As the parade approaches the railway tracks, the mayor and the chamber president will be ready to flick the switch on the community Christmas tree in Citizen’s Park. Renauer is hoping at the same time a local group will be there to lead some Christmas carol singing.
Will it be around a bonfire? Maybe – if the Chamber can get its hands on some sort of above-ground fire device, and firewood. Call her at 780-849-3222 if you can help.
The end of the parade signals the beginning of the late-night shopping extravaganza. Participating stores usually put on all sorts of specials and draws to make it more attractive. Other things will likely be going on in and around downtown – perhaps a barbecue, various promotions and entertainments. The night also marks the start of the Chamber’s Passport to Christmas ‘shop local’ program. Participating businesses provide ‘passports’ to shoppers, who can then get them stamped when shopping. On the line are prizes including the big one – $2,500 in ‘Slave Lake Bucks.’
Asked for a comment on the event, Chamber president Francesca Giroux provided the following, by email from a conference:
“We are hoping for an exciting parade this year, hoping to up the community spirit and increase participation in our Passport to Christmas program and focusing on our #livelocal campaign. Encouraging Slave Lake residents to think local first when it comes to their Christmas shopping, recognizing that dollars retained in our community spur the local economy and benefit not only the business owners but not-for-profit groups and community organizations.
“Regarding big events coming up, we are working on revamping our annual trade show. Focusing on an outdoor adventure theme and expanding the number of vendors to really make it a weekend event for our community. We want to provide our local businesses with an outlet to get together and present their products and services before the busy summer season. Following that we will move into our Riverboat Daze preparations with the continuance of the Block Party and the Sand Castle competition.”
See you there!