Last minute parade sees crowded streets and happy faces despite cold temperatures

Despite cold temperatures, Woodland Drive was lined with excited children on Friday evening, as Hay River held it’s first Santa Claus parade in two years.

With town staff breaking the trail, a lineup of decorated vehicles and trailers snaked along the parade route, passing candy and Christmas cheer to the community – a community who previously was going to be without a parade.

Just minutes after the parade wrapped up, comments were being posted online thanking organizer Cindy Wilgosh for her hard work planning, and stating that this may have been the best Christmas parade Hay River has seen in a while.

Jackie Karp was one of the parents who attending the event with their children.

The 15-year Hay River resident said that this was the best Santa Claus parade she has seen.

“I really don’t think I have seen that many floats before,” she said.

“My son Jesse loved it – especially the Eagle 88 float at the end.”

“I am sure there would have been many sad kids, and adults, in Hay River had (Wilgosh) not organized it.”

With only a week of planning before the event, the parade went off without a hitch. Wilgosh began her planning on Dec. 7, and had no expectations at the time in terms of what the parade what look like.

But she is more than pleased with the result.

“I think it was awesome,” said Wilgosh. “I was completely impressed by the efforts of all the businesses involved.”

She said that in total they had 28 floats, due to a few last minute back outs and some last minute additions.

“I was totally impressed,” she said.

“Going into this I really didn’t know what to think going into this. I just knew I wanted to have a parade for my kids.”

But she isn’t the one to thank, said Wilgosh.

“The businesses and groups did the biggest part of all of this – bringing the floats,” she said. “I just told them when and where.”

And though this may have been the first parade for Wilgosh, there is no saying whether this will be the last. She said she already has some plans in place for next year, should the opportunity arise.

“We’ll see what next year brings, but I would be happy to do it again,” she said.