DARRYL KNIGHT The Standard

UXBRIDGE: Councillors will seek further input from community stakeholders before deciding the future leadership and direction of the local Santa Claus Parade.
Following up on a recent letter to Council, Bernice and Chris Brown introduced themselves at a recent meeting. They provided a brief history of the Parade, outlining that parade coordination had passed on to them from the Scott family. They have been running the parade as a Town event, for many years in Uxbridge.
Earlier this year, the Browns requested that the parade revert from its current status as a committee of Council, with no other groups or affiliations being involved.
“Our main objective is to keep the Santa Claus Parade as a town parade but run as a family event like it has been for the last 59 years,” explained Mr. Brown. “We originally became a committee of council because of stricter rules on insurance, which meant we had to be under the town umbrella, but now we’ve looked into it again and we’re willing to take that on.” Mr. Brown added they hope the Township and the BIA would remain as sponsors for the event, but only at that capacity.
He added he expects the insurance, marketing and bands are the biggest costs of the parade. Mrs. Brown noted they would ideally keep the Parade with minimal commercialization.
“What we’ve seen in other municipalities is that there’s an advertisement or logo for the organizing group on the banners, and some even have ads on Santa’s sleigh. We’ve been asked for that in the past and shut it down, that’s not what the Santa Claus Parade is about.”
Ward 4 Councillor Willie Popp explained the BIA has a vested interest in the Parade as it attracts hundreds of visitors to the downtown area during the holiday season.
“What Chris and Bernice are asking to do is remove the parade from being a committee of council and operate differently than it does currently,” explained Councillor Popp. “The BIA has indicated they may have an interest in maintaining it as a committee of council under their auspices.”
Councillors opted to allow for more time before deciding, noting they are seeking additional input from the BIA.
In a letter included in Council’s agenda, BIA chair Christina Curry wrote a request that councillors hold off on a decision on the matter until the BIA appears at an upcoming meeting to offer their input.
“The BIA is seriously considering our future involvement and management of the Santa Claus Parade,” she wrote.