The annual Santa Parade has been cancelled in Maple Ridge. (The News files)

The annual Santa Parade has been cancelled in Maple Ridge. (The News files)

Santa Claus will be not be parading in Maple Ridge this year

Annual parade and Christmas festival cancelled

Santa Claus will not be coming to town this year.

The decision was made by the Maple Ridge Christmas Festival and Parade committee to cancel the annual event after a meeting with city officials. They posted the decision to their Facebook page.

“Our committee is disappointed, but please understand that this decision wasn’t something that was an easy call to make and was done so out of an abundance of caution,” read the online statement.

The Christmas Festival Society had advertised the event and was looking for volunteers for the festival initially scheduled for Dec. 4. However, they had not been given final approval by the city.

Fred Armstrong, spokesperson for the City of Maple Ridge, said that even though the parade is primarily and outside event, the concern was that there would potentially be a substantial crowd of people in close proximity, especially youth, which could increase the risk of COVID transmission.

And, he said, they were also concerned about large groups of participants on floats and on parade teams.

“The decision was made a few weeks ago when case counts were still rising in the community and in the region. The safety of citizens is the most important component of our festival planning and review,” said Armstrong, noting that most other communities across the Lower Mainland have made the decision to forego parades and large gatherings that usually kick off the holiday season.

Instead communities are opting to hold more ‘spread out’, flow through or timed entry events, he said, like GLOW Maple Ridge.

RELATED: Memorial Peace Park to be a-GLOW for Christmas

The third annual GLOW Maple Ridge is set to start Friday, Nov. 26 in Memorial Peace Park, downtown Maple Ridge, where about 50,000 Christmas lights will be lighting up the night.

Lighting displays will also include the iconic red bells that are being installed on Lougheed Highway and 224 Street in the town centre.

“These events allow people to wander through while maintaining social distancing for their families,” explained Armstrong.

ALSO: Maple Ridge Christmas Fest still in planning stages

“Public Health officials have already published guidelines for how to have a safe holiday, and all of the recommendations speak to the importance of keeping gatherings small and ensuring that you take steps to protect the most vulnerable family members from COVID,” he said.

The Maple Ridge Christmas Festival and Parade committee is planning to take a few months off before beginning preparations for a “bigger and better” event next year.

They are asking anyone who would like to be on their email list for 2022 to contact them at mrchristmasfestivalsociety@gmail.com.


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