Parade of Lights goes drive-by for 2020

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The traditional Christmas Parade of Lights is another event to have been impacted by the covid-19 pandemic. But organisers have shown great imagination by simply reversing the normal order of things this year. Instead of the Parade passing by happy onlookers, it’s the onlookers who will be passing by. The Parade of Lights planning committee explained the new approach.

“This year, due to the ongoing Covid-19 Pandemic, the parade will shift to a stationary event at Rideau Auctions, just outside of Winchester, with spectators driving by the floats in their vehicles.”

The planning committee has been working closely with the Eastern Ontario Health Unit to ensure the safety of all the participants. There will be no closely-packed crowds of people lining the parade route. Instead, they and the float participants will remain safely at a distance from each other, while still being able to enjoy the fantastic display.

All floats must be registered, as each one must be assigned a spot at Rideau Auctions, where the Display of Lights will happen. Deadline for registration is Friday November 27. There’s still lots of room left. Set up is by appointment, between 9 and 5 on December 3 and 4. Registration is free.

Fries For Charity will be onsite, with proceeds going towards Jessica Goodenough and Cassandra Young, who were badly burned in a bonfire accident on October 24.

Christmas Fund volunteers will be collecting donations. Eastern Ontario Health Unit’s guidelines stipulate all candy and treats must be handed out in loot bags, given to the kids when they enter the venue. No more flying candy canes.

The Great Music Guys, and opera singers, live on site, will provide music to play in your car, through a radio station. Kim Hovegeen will emcee between songs.

Traffic will turn right entering and exiting the site. Northbound traffic trying to enter will be guided right onto Dawley Drive, then left onto Main Street, then left at the lights onto County Road 31. The OPP will be onsite to direct traffic.

Registered floats will be entered into the Annual Float Contest. Prize baskets of local products will be awarded after the event. Categories include: best float overall, best business float, best non-profit float, best agricultural float, best animal float, float with the most lights, peoples choice (don’t forget to vote on the website), most original, and new for 2020 only, best float thanking our frontline workers.

Toques for the event ave available for $10 cash at the Township office and at the Planted Arrow in Winchester, as well as at Mike Deans and McEwens in Chesterville.

The Vendor Show is being held at the Joel Steele Community Centre at the arena on Saturday from 9 to 4. Shoppers will be limited. This show is one way to support local artisans, crafters, and vendors, in a year that is extremely tough for them.

The North Dundas Parade of Lights has teamed up with The Planted Arrow for their virtual Gnome Workshop. Sign up to create a Christmas gnome, and top him off with a Parade of Lights toque. $10 from every workshop fee goes to the Parade of Lights to help make this event a success.

Visit www.northdundasparadeoflights.ca for more information and to vote for your favorite float.

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