Some not feeling festive over drive-by Santa Claus parade
LONDON, ONT. -- Not everyone is jumping with festive joy over plans to move this weekend’s London Santa Claus Parade to the airport for this year.
“It’s a whole different ball game, we don’t really know what we’re getting into,” admitted Shaun Merton, parade committee chair.
The move was made after the city said it would not be permitting street parades this year because of COVID-19.
The parade will be a drive-by event with about 20 entrants as static displays, including floats and live music, he said.
“You’re going to come into Oxford and Crumlin, and then you’re going to follow the signs into the airport. And we’re actually going to do it on the airstrip. And there will be live planes going on the other airstrip at the same time so it should be pretty neat.”
But not everyone likes the format or the location. Cycling advocate Jamieson Roberts worries Santa will be out of reach for some.
“I see the airport being problematic, not necessarily exclusively because of its location, but more so around London as events using cars as personal protective equipment. Cars as PPE is incredibly exclusionary to those who can’t afford a car.”
Merton said the airport is the best they could come up with under the circumstances.
“I’m sorry that we have it that way, but there’s no other way we can do it. We contacted the [London Transit Commission] and we contacted other people and nobody was interested in doing it. So, as we have for many, many years, we’ll use our livestream. It will be live from the parade.”
Vehicles attending the parade will be admitted to the airport between 1:30 and 4:30 Saturday afternoon.
Santa is scheduled to fly over east London by helicopter between 12:45 and 1:15 p.m. before touching down at the airport.
Admission to the parade is free, but those attending are asked to bring food items for the food bank, along with toonie donations at the end.