Santa coming to Maple Ridge

Christmas In The Park festival in Memorial Peace Park in Maple Ridge is Dec. 3

The Santa parade will begin at 6 p.m.; Christmas in the park starts at 4 p.m.

The Santa parade will begin at 6 p.m.; Christmas in the park starts at 4 p.m.

Santa Claus will be coming to town on Saturday, Dec. 3.

The evening’s festivities will begin at 4 p.m. with the start of the Christmas In The Park festival in Memorial Peace Park in Maple Ridge.

Christmas lights will adorn the bandstand to highlight the evening’s entertainment, which will be kicked off by students from St. Patrick’s School singing Christmas carols.

Festival-goers will be treated to free hot chocolate, popcorn, cider, smores and cookies.

However, the Christmas Festival Society asks people to bring their own mugs in order to reduce the amount of waste around the park.

A food vendor will be open from 4 to 6 p.m., serving hot dogs, hamburgers and french fries, by donation.

All proceeds will go back to the Christmas Festival Society to ease the $10,000 it takes to put on the festival every year.

“We want it to be as free as possible,” Natalie Freer, publicity coordinator for the Maple Ridge Christmas Festival Society, said of the evening. “We don’t want anybody to feel excluded.”

At the Children’s craft section, there will be a choice between making one of two Christmas ornaments; a candy cane or a wooden nativity scene.

Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be welcoming children at Santa’s Yurt, which will be in a new location. This year the yurt will be located on the new brick area at the southwest corner of the park in order to give Santa better light to see children’s Christmas wish letters.

Children can bring their letters when they visit with Santa, then put them into Santa’s Mailbox, located beside the yurt.

A free four-by-six-foot picture will be given out to all of Santa’s visitors. People are also welcome to take their own photographs.

At 6 p.m., Santa will leave the yurt to help countdown the lighting of the new Peace Tree, located along 224th St. at the southwest area of the park, which will signify the beginning of the Santa Claus Parade.

This year, the parade will be bypassing the loop around Memorial Peace Park for a couple of different reasons Freer said.

“We have had the fire department say they’d like to have their large fire trucks in the parade.”

They are unable to make the turn at the top of the loop.

“We have also had concerns with safety because so many people are crammed into the park,”  Freer added. “If it doesn’t work out this year, we will bring the loop back into next year’s route.”

Parade route

The parade will start at Church Avenue, travel south along 222nd Street, turn east on Dewdney Trunk Road, then south on 224th Street. It will go straight past Memorial Peace Park, then turn right at Lougheed Highway, finishing at 223rd Street.