Owen Sound residents can drive by the Santa Claus Parade

Santa Claus Parade (BlackburnNews.com photo by Dave Dentinger)

The Kiwanis Club of Owen Sound will welcome Santa to the City Saturday, but with a twist this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The club has been sponsoring the annual tradition for the past 74 years, but this year the community will celebrate the season in a new way.

The Club will be presenting a “Drive Through” parade that will be staged at the Harry Lumley Bayshore Community Centre from 7:00 to 9:00 pm.

A one way traffic route will enter the Bayshore Community Centre on 18th Street East off 2nd Avenue West so people can drive past the stationary parade to celebrate the holidays.

Although there will be no pedestrian access there will be a dedicated bus that will depart the main bus terminal and take individuals and families to the parade and return to the terminal. There will be restrictions on the number of passengers per trip

“The Santa Claus parade is one of our favourite events to put on,” said Kiwanis President Andrew Drury. “We love being a part of holiday spirit and our members, parade participants, sponsors, and volunteers together put on something special for families to enjoy. We couldn’t imagine not having a parade, but we did have to re-imagine what that may look like.”

“The commitment to making Owen Sound a better place for kids and families is one our members take seriously and I’m happy that we’re able to make this happen,” said Past President Michelle Kobryn. “But as well people coming to watch the parade helped make a difference for others too. It is unfortunate that the parade won’t look the same this year, but kids deserve Santa and by golly they’re going to get him!”

The Drive Through parade will be free of charge, but residents are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for the Salvation Army Food Drive. As well kids (of all ages) are invited to bring letters to Santa that will be safely collected by Canada Post representatives.

“It was always amazing to see how much the community was willing to share with the Salvation Army on parade day,” said Kiwanian and parade Chair Tim Brown. “This year it will be even more important to help others who may be struggling or in need. So we made sure we kept that element as a part of the parade, and of course those letters to Santa are special for everyone who believes, so we made sure that could be safely covered.”

“Our Club remains focused on supporting this community in many different ways,” added Drury. “Though it may be a little difficult and a little different, we’re going to make sure we do it as best we can. We will absolutely miss the usual parade, but we’ll be back to that faster if we continue to respect Public Health directives and do these things safely.”