The 13th-annual Surrey Santa Parade of Lights will return to Cloverdale and downtown Surrey on Sunday, Dec. 2.
The popular light parade will kick off in downtown Cloverdale at 5 p.m., and the Big Rigs for Kids contingent will continue on to City Hall Plaza to set up for an annual display of lights afterwards.
Of all the parades Cloverdale Business Improvement Association (BIA) executive director Paul Orazietti has organized over the past decade, the Santa parade is “one particular event that has a life of its own.”
“A lot of people get involved. They see it and they have their own dream and vision and they add to it. A lot of the talent comes from people wanting to show off what they do,” he said.
As of Friday (Nov. 16), 63 entries had been confirmed for the parade — and, as every year, they cover a wide range of community talent.
Orazietti said it’s an “all-round evening parade,” featuring cement trucks, hot rods, remote control cars, “circus-style” entries, community groups, cadets, mascots, fire trucks, marching bands and much more.
As the crowd of spectators grows every year, funding the parade continues to be a challenge, said Orazietti. “It’s becoming harder and more complicated because of regulations with the city, and that’s one of the biggest challenges.”
“Every year the cost escalates,” he said. This year, he estimates it will cost roughly $22,000, which will go primarily towards road closure fees and RCMP costs.
Semi-trailer trucks, one of the parade’s most popular guests, are also a large part of that expense. Since the trucking association is Vancouver Island-based, the Cloverdale BIA pays for ferry costs. In past years, bad weather has complicated their commute. One year, they couldn’t make the ferry crossing due to bad weather. Another year, bad weather prevented them from returning to Vancouver Island on time. That history, combined with the fact that more local parades are starting up on the Island, has made it harder to convince drivers to come to Surrey.
When the Reporter spoke to Orazietti on Nov. 7, a “small amount” of Vancouver Island trucks had been confirmed. The crowds will be able to see trucks from across the Lower Mainland, however, as well as vintage trucks courtesy of the BC Vintage Truck Museum.
The Surrey Santa Parade will begin in Cloverdale at 5 p.m., and will follow the same route as last year. It will start from the Cloverdale Fairgrounds and move straight down 176A Street, turn east along 58th Avenue, south down 177B Street, west along 57th Avenue, and then north along 176 Street before turning down 58th Avenue towards Highway 15.
As thousands of people are expected to line the streets to watch the parade, it’s advised that parade-goers arrive early to find parking and a good vantage point.
Bring toys, non-perishable food or cash donations to Hawthorne Square on 176 Street, where you can donate to the Cloverdale Christmas Hamper, the Surrey Christmas Bureau and the Surrey Food Bank.
Big Rigs for Kids, a fleet of trucks decorated with Christmas lights, continues on after Cloverdale all the way to City Hall Plaza (13450 104 Ave), where they create a light display until 8 p.m. Hot dogs and snacks will be sold, courtesy of the North Surrey Lions Club, and donations will be accepted for the Surrey Food Bank and the Surrey Christmas Bureau.
For a route map, and more information, visit surreysantaparade.com.