There will be not Santa Claus parade or Christmas festival this year. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

There will be not Santa Claus parade or Christmas festival this year. (Colleen Flanagan/THE NEWS)

Maple Ridge Drive-through for Santa Cause cancelled

The event was to be held on Dec. 5 at the Albion Fairgrounds

The annual Christmas Festival has been cancelled this year.

After coming up with a new drive-through format that followed COVID-19 safety guidelines, the recent spike in cases across the Fraser Health region forced organizers to pull the plug.

“Disappointing,” said Lorraine Bates, executive director of the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society, who had been planning to team up with the Maple Ridge Christmas Festival Society for the event at Albion Fairgrounds on Dec. 5.

They were planning to have a four-hour event called Drive-through for Santa Cause, where vehicles could drive along a path through the fairgrounds to see a series of stationary floats set up along each side of the route.

There was going to be a non-perishable food drop off site for the Friends In Need Food Bank, Santa Claus was going to wave to children from his workshop and, before visitors left, they could donate gift cards to the Christmas Hamper.

They submitted a COVID plan.

CANCELLED: Maple Ridge Santa Claus Parade will be drive-through event

However they were told they could only let 50 cars in per hour and after one hour they would have to close the site for another hour to disinfect.

Bates decided to contact the PNE where they have been holding drive-through events since the summer and found out that they received a special exemption.

But with the Maple Ridge event around the corner, Bates felt there wasn’t enough time to try to get a special exemption for their event.

In addition, Bates said, the Provincial Health Officer has only given new directions for the next two weeks. If the province decides to extend the period to one month, then all of their work would be for nothing.

“And I think, for me and my volunteers, we just want to make sure the kids get a Christmas,” she said.

Trish Coft, president of the Maple Ridge Christmas Festival Society, explained they couldn’t put on the event in light of the latest COVID-19 restrictions. They couldn’t, “in good conscience”, ask groups, that have likely been shut down for the next two weeks, to prepare a float for the parade.

Instead, she said, the focus this year will be on messages of good tidings and community building.

Similar to how the city put on a convoy for Canada Day, they will also be putting on a convoy for Christmas.

Coft will be putting together online content to showcase some of the parade participants from past years, along with warm wishes and Christmas greetings from local community groups and businesses.

“Please know that this decision was not an easy one to come to as we all want to get back to some level of normalcy,” added Coft.

“It is the right decision for us at this time and now our focus should be on ensuring that we can spread the Christmas cheer in a safe and COVID-19 friendly way in hopes that we will all be able to gather for Christmas with our families,” she said.

Anyone wanting to donate gift cards to the Christmas Hamper Society can drop them off Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the society office Albion Fairgrounds location from 10 a.m. until noon.

Bates also wants to assure donors that volunteers will be wearing face shields and there will be a Plexiglas box that they can put their donations in.

READ MORE: Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Christmas Hamper Society expecting registrations to double

People who don’t want to go down to the fairgrounds can mail the society a cheque or make a donation through PayPal.

“We want to keep everybody safe,” added Bates.

Currently the Christmas Hamper Society is working with the Friends In Need Food Bank to streamline registrations. Registration forms were send out last week, said Bates, and those who feel they need a little help this holiday season have until the end of November to get forms back in.

“They are coming in slow, but I think it’s just a different process,” said Bates.

For those not registered with the food bank can still register on the Christmas Hamper website.

So far 63 people have registered.

There are also 44 good neighbours who are waiting to sponsor a family.

Last year there were more than 100 good neighbours.

“We don’t generally commence registration this early,” noted Tina Kirkpatrick, director of the Christmas Hamper Society, and so, she says, they don’t know what numbers to expect this year.

“The numbers we were advised by community groups were high in August and September but here we are 2 weeks into the registration cycle and so few applications,” she said.

This year the focus of the Christmas Hamper Society will be providing a Christmas meal and gifts to families with children. Single people, adult couple families and group adult households will not be able to receive assistance from the Christmas Hamper Society, including seniors.

All registrations will be done remotely this year.

Rudolph’s Recycle Gift Shoppe, Toy Shopping and Kid’s Only will not be available.

Three $25 gift cards will be given to each child 18 years and younger and one gift card for food will be given to the family.

Families who were previously denied by the Christmas Hamper Society will be considered on a case by case basis.

A Means Test will be applied for all families.

For more information or to register go to mrpmchristmashamper.org.

To participate in the convoy for Christmas, email mrchristmasfestivalsociety@gmail.com or go to mapleridgechristmasfestival.com for more information.


 

cflanagan@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

After clocking in at 207km/hr in Maple Ridge, the driver’s car was impounded, and their licence was suspended. (File photo)
Speedster busted travelling 127 km/hr over limit in Maple Ridge

RCMP nabbed the offender on Lougheed Highway and 287 Street this weekend

Building Interfaith Bridges organized a special crossing of Dewdney Trunk Road in commemoration of the Afzaal family who were killed in London, Ontario. (Special to The News)
Group marches across Maple Ridge intersection for Muslim family killed in Ontario

Participants dressed in traditional outfits to create awareness against Islamophobia

Submit letters to the editor through our website, via email or in writing.
LETTER: Old-growth logging tip of a much bigger issue

Letter writer erects flagpole and fly national and provincial flags upside down as sign of distress

A rendering of the proposed six-storey apartment building on Dewdney Trunk Road. (Billard Architecture)
Green rooftop planned on Maple Ridge condo building

Council considers 127-unit apartment building on Dewdney Trunk Road

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Maple Ridge high school has COVID-19 exposure

Westview secondary is latest listed by Fraser Health

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Robert Nelson, 35, died after being stabbed at a homeless camp in Abbotsford on April 7 of this year.
Mom pleads for information about son’s killing at Abbotsford homeless camp

Robert Nelson, 35, described as ‘man who stood for justice, honour, respect’

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Police arrest the suspect in an attempted armed bank robbery on June 2 at the Scotiabank at Gladwin Road and South Fraser Way in Abbotsford. (Photo by Garry Amyot)
Abbotsford bank robbery suspect who was stopped by customers faces more charges

Neil Simpson now faces total of eight charges, up from the initial two

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read