The lights from the Surrey Santa Parade will not shine in Cloverdale this year.
Paul Orazietti, executive director for the Cloverdale BIA, and chief organizer for the annual event, announced in a Facebook post Nov. 2 that a drive-thru version of the Santa parade won’t happen.
“Thank you to all who tried to save the 2020 Surrey Santa Parade of Lights, including the drive-thru version,”Orazietti wrote on the Cloverdale BIA’s Facebook page. “Once again the COVID-19 pandemic has claimed another victim.”
Oriazetti said there were a few different factors that pushed him to cancel the proposed drive-thru event, which was an attempt to replace the already cancelled regular parade.
“We were unable to put together a drive-thru plan that would not impact other user groups on the fairgrounds,” explained Oriazetti, adding he couldn’t find sufficient space on the fairgrounds for all the floats to park and have room for visitors.
Oriazetti said the fairgrounds usage continues to grow, especially with the addition of the Smallville set at the north end of the grounds.
“I believe the greatest problem was trying to convert an existing event into something new on a very short timeline with limited resources.”
While Oriazetti is disappointed a drive-thru version of the Santa parade won’t go ahead this year, he still wants to figure out a way to keep the charity aspect of the parade alive.
“We are also in discussions with the BC Vintage Truck museum to hold a small-scale drive-thru event that would be for Christmas donations and would feature at least four decorated vehicles, including Santa.”
Orazietti cancelled the regular parade earlier this year and instead looked at doing a drive-thru alternative where visitors could meander through the Cloverdale Fairgrounds in their vehicles and view static parade floats.
“We cannot encourage people to stand on the side of the road and stand beside each other,” Orazietti told the Cloverdale Reporter in September, when he cancelled the traditional style parade.