N. Dundas Parade of Lights brings the Christmas twinkle back to Winchester, Dec. 1

Above, École élémentaire catholique Sainte-Thérèse-d’Avila students march with their float in the 2017 North Dundas Parade of Lights

WINCHESTER – The North Dundas Parade of Lights is coming up fast, and this year there are more float categories, entertainment and family fun than ever before.

It all takes place on Saturday, Dec. 1, starting with the Vendor & Trade Show at the Joel Steele Community Centre, upstairs at the arena, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tables are sold out, and with the variety of vendors registered, you’re bound to find something for everyone on your Christmas list. Products being offered for sale this year include: fudge, baked goods, jewelry, leggings, purses, totes, handmade clothing, oils, beauty and bath products, spices, health supplements, hair products, home décor, artwork, crafts, preserves, wool and yarn, handmade Christmas ornaments, and much more.

Admission is free, and the first 150 people through the doors will receive a free glow stick they can use to light themselves up during the parade. Community Living Dundas County will be serving a special luncheon, volunteers will be collecting donations for Community Food Share, and Parade of Lights toques will be available for sale at a cost of $10 each.

Video footage, below, showing the 2017 North Dundas Parade of Lights.

Bring the kids—and the kids at heart—for professional pictures with Santa from 10 a.m. to 12:30 pm and 1 to 4 p.m., courtesy of Margaret Link Photography. Cost is $12 per print in a folio. All children will receive an advent calendar from Santa courtesy of Winchester Foodland. Sgt. Sax will provide musical entertainment from 12:30–1 p.m. while Santa feeds the reindeer.

Keep the shopping fun going by heading downtown to see what Parade Day sales our local merchants have to offer.

Then, head down to the Old Town Hall for hours of family fun.

Back by popular demand, Magical Marvin will wow crowds from 11 a.m. until noon. The North Dundas District High School Senior Concert Band will perform from 1 to 2 p.m., the Great Music Guys, who will also be performing in the parade, will take the stage from 2–3 pm, and rounding out the lineup will be the Christmas Ding-a-Lings, a family piano and saxophone performance by Kate Link Horvath, Gracin Link-Horvath, and Frank Malatesta. In the lobby, kids can write a letter to Santa and decorate their own sugar or gingerbread cookies, both stations manned by the Winchester Scouts. Cookies generously donated by the Roy family.

After the parade, head back to the Old Town Hall for a special Parade of Lights Night at the Moovies, starting at 9 p.m. Movie title is yet to be determined; check the parade website and Facebook page for updates. Admission to all events at the Old Town Hall is free.

The committee is waiting on confirmation of suppers and events from local community groups.

“It’s going to be a great day,” said Sandy Burns, chair of the Parade Committee. “There’s something for everyone to enjoy, and the parade itself never disappoints. We already have about 30 floats registered, and I’m expecting more registrations to come in before the big day. We’ve added two new categories to our float contest this year, and we’re changing the way we number the floats and organize the parade. I’m really excited to see it all come together. It’s wonderful to see the amount of support and participation we get from the community.”

The Parade of Lights begins at 7 p.m. at the Township Office and winds its way through town.

Facebook Live broadcast by Nation Valley News

Those unable to venture out can still catch the spectacle live-streamed on the Nation Valley News Facebook page.

For those who are lining the streets to view the parade, free parking will be available again this year at the Winchester District Memorial Hospital, beginning at 4 pm. Port-a-Potties will be set up near the downtown core, and if you get cold, warm up at our fire pit at Sweet Corner Park, or visit Simply Baked Catering Inc. at 493 Main St.

Sweet Corner Park will live up to its name with a variety of tasty treats available for purchase. Enjoy a Beavertail, a refreshment from the concession stand run by the Therien Jiu Jitsu and Kickboxing Special Events Committee, or pick up a box of fresh French fries at the Fries for Charity stand, which will be run by the Downtown Revitalization Committee and the Winchester Hawks, with proceeds benefitting the Hawks.

Anyone who has participated in the parade previously is accustomed to receiving their float number prior to the parade start. This year, the committee has decided to implement a new system for float numbering. Float drivers will receive a form upon arrival, which they will be asked to fill out and keep handy. All animal floats will be staged across the street at Benson’s, while the rest of the floats line up in the township parking lot. Just prior to parade start, the animal floats will be asked to line up along the road in front of the township office, and a volunteer will choose appropriate spaces for the animals to enter the parade as the floats are leaving the parking lot. As the parade is leaving the township office, volunteers will collect the forms from each float and hand out a number.

The numbers and float names will be entered into an online spreadsheet for event emcee Shawn Brownlee to read at the downtown corner.

We ask that parade participants communicate their float location to their teams, as the volunteers cannot always remember where each float was parked. If you plan to leave your float at the township office, please don’t unhitch. Have another vehicle with you, and check in with a volunteer before you leave (volunteers will arrive at 2 pm). Space near the front of the parade is on a first-come, first-served basis, unless verified with the parade committee beforehand.

If you have kids on your float, make sure to get there early and watch for Santa. The jolly old elf has told us he will be arriving early to meet with some of the kids on the floats, as they don’t otherwise have a chance to see him.

To help decrease the busyness of Dawley Drive at the end of the parade, this years float drivers will have the option of turning down Dawley Drive, or continuing to the second (west) entrance to the Foodland plaza and stopping behind the building to disassemble their floats. The back of the lot will be well lit, thanks to flood lights generously provided by Tomlinson.

Floats are automatically entered in the Parade’s annual Float Contest.

The categories are:

  • Best Business Float
  • Best Non Profit Float
  • Most Lights
  • Best Decorated Farm Equipment
  • Best Overall
  • People’s Choice (voting takes place on the parade website following the parade; floats will be added as soon as possible after the parade ends)
  • New this year: Best Animal Float
  • New this year: Most Original

Prizes are gift baskets filled with local goods.

Black toques embroidered with North Dundas Parade of Lights are on sale for $10 each, and are available at the Township Office, the Planted Arrow, Simply Baked Catering, and the Town Vintner, and will be at the Vendor & Trade Show and the Old Town Hall on parade day.

As always, organizers say they need volunteers to help make parade day run smoothly! Those wishing to help out may email info@northdundasparadeoflights.ca or PM the parade committee on Facebook.

For more information, visit the website at northdundasparadeoflights.ca or like them on Facebook.

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