The lights from the Surrey Santa Parade will not shine again in Cloverdale this year.
Paul Orazietti, executive director for the Cloverdale BIA, and chief organizer for the annual event, said Nov. 16 the parade has officially been cancelled.
“We tried to do a smaller event, but that didn’t work out either.”
Oriazetti said there were a few different factors that pushed him to cancel the parade.
“We had no choice,” he explained. “The way to rules work, you can’t host an event with over 5,000 people. That means we’d have to close the road and put up fencing all around to control the crowds. Once you do that, it becomes cost prohibitive.”
Oriazetti said any attempts to put on a larger-scale event creates a litany of logistical problems that are impossible to solve under the current COVID rules.
“The city is also not encouraging us to do this,” he added. “The city also wants three months notice, so we haven’t been able to do anything because we haven’t been able to plan that far ahead because of COVID.”
He said communication from the City of Surrey has included instructions like: avoid putting on events that generate large crowds and avoid putting on events where you can’t have social-distancing.
“We can’t really do anything at this point,” he explained. “Even if we wanted to put Santa Claus in Hawthorne Square, we’d have to have fencing up and a socially-distant lineup that would stretch on for blocks. We’ve proposed many things and tried to see if different models would work, but in the end a lot of what we’ve tried to do isn’t working for us.”
While Oriazetti is disappointed the parade won’t go ahead this year, he still figured out a way to keep the charity aspect of the parade alive.
“We’re going to have small event that will be focused on local charities,” he said. “We’ll have four floats, trucks from the Truck Museum, parked on the side of the road, mid-block on 176th in front of the Clova, and several charities will be involved, the Phoenix Society, the Cloverdale Community Kitchen, and others.”
Oriazetti said the one-day event will take place Dec. 5 from noon to 6 p.m.
He also said the BIA will be adding festive lighting on some streets as well as in Hawthorne Square.
“We’re trying to light up the downtown core. We’re going to light up some new areas and we’re going to decorate the tree in Hawthorne Square. It’s a moving project. We’re trying to do everything we can.”
He said the money saved this year on the parade will make next year’s parade the biggest and best ever.
“All the dollars we have saved this year are going to be put into next year.”