Rudolph gets a rest at Yellowknife’s 2020 Santa Claus parade. The parade will go ahead but, to combat the pandemic, floats will stay in place while residents drive by.
The parade will set up in the Engle Business District, an industrial area about as far from the event’s regular downtown location as is possible within city limits. Festivities begin at 5pm on Saturday, November 21.
The details come from a City of Yellowknife webpage established for the event.
Approaching from the north end of Deh Cho Boulevard off Highway 3, families will be asked to leave the boulevard at Eagle Drive and then drive slowly past the parade’s floats, which will each have a berth of their own – culminating in Santa’s appearance.
Reversing the parade’s usual roles means residents will by default be isolated from other groups inside their vehicles, rather than mingling on downtown streets as is ordinarily the case.
The city said the parade route would remain open until 7pm.
On leaving the parade area, vehicles will rejoin Deh Cho Boulevard and exit at its southern end.
The city said this year’s theme is your favourite Christmas movie.
Community groups, businesses, and schools can all enter a float and vehicle. This year, families and friends can also submit an entry. It “can be as simple as a decorated car, van, or pick-up truck and trailer to add to the festive line-up,” said the city. Registration for floats is open on the city’s website.
Shuttle buses will be available for those without vehicles. The buses will follow existing Covid-19 public health measures for passengers.
“We’re really excited to be able to have this annual tradition return this year while still respecting public safety,” said Yellowknife’s mayor, Rebecca Alty, in a news release.
“It’s basically a reverse parade. The floats will stay parked, while the residents drive thru in the warmth of their vehicles.”
While it may not be the kind of parade residents remember, the city’s decision to proceed with the event is the latest example of the NWT’s determination to celebrate certain occasions.
Earlier this month, Halloween got the green light from the chief public health officer with what are, ultimately, minor adjustments. There has been no indication that government guidance for October 31 will change, despite three new confirmed Covid-19 cases in the NWT over the past week.
The chief public health officer has said she is reviewing how the introduction of new, quicker forms of testing could potentially reduce time spent in isolation as the holiday season approaches and many residents contemplate trips to visit family elsewhere – knowing they currently face two weeks of mandatory isolation on their return.
However, Dr Kami Kandola said the terms of mandatory isolation in the NWT could only change if the Covid-19 spike in southern Canada abated significantly. To date, the apparent second wave of the virus in various provinces has shown little sign of tailing off.