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Rain and wind stymie Santa in Paradise

Town unveiling new Christmas lights feature at Peter Barry Duff Park

By Mark Squibb/December 16, 2021

Wind and rain this past Sunday dampened some Christmas cheer as Santa had to reschedule two Sunday parades and cancel another outright.

The Town of Paradise announced Sunday morning that it would not be going ahead with the annual parade due to the weather, and as no alternate date was set, the parade will not be going ahead this year at all.

“Obviously, we certainly understand the disappointment all of our residents, in particular of course all the children in the town, have when a parade gets cancelled,” said councilor Elizabeth Laurie, chairperson of the recreation committee. “It’s definitely not an easy discussion. Obviously, we had a lot of rain, but we had a lot of high winds too. So, for the safety or everybody involved, not just the people watching the parade, but those participating in the parade, we had to cancel.”

Laurie said Town CAO Lisa Niblock makes the final call to cancel or give the green light, in consultation with town staff and volunteer groups, giving safety the upmost consideration.

Laurie said she understands folks’ disappointment that the parade was canceled outright rather than rescheduled, but said that with so many groups involved, it becomes impossible to set an alternate time.

“We use a lot of different organizations and community groups, and of course volunteers, to make the parade even happen, so I know a lot of residents were disappointed that we didn’t have an alternate date,” said Laurie. “But, given the time of year, these groups have other events scheduled, and so we’re not able to hold it at a later date. Some of the organizations that we use are the Rovers, the RNC, Lions Club and Kin Club and all those other service groups that come on board, so we just couldn’t do a second date… When the participants of the parade register, they do know up front that there is no alternate date. “So, while we certainly appreciate all the work community groups and businesses put into the parade and their floats, we do sympathize with making such a huge decision to cancel the parade.”

Laurie said the town received quite a bit of feedback on the cancellation, particularly through social media channels.

“We’re certainly going to consider the feedback we’ve received for when we plan our future events, and in particular next year’s Christmas events,” said Laurie. “We have a recreation and community services meeting today, so that’s going to be on the agenda for discussion.”

The Town did host a number of other Christmas activities that the weather did not waylay.

“This year, we’ve made some incredible leaps from last year, because last year all of our events for Christmas had to be cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but this year we were able to offer our Brunch with Santa, and we had a great turnout for that, it sold out,” said the councilor. “We had over 800 people at the brunch. Of course, we had to keep within the public health guidelines, which is a big challenge. That’s certainly not an excuse, but it is something that we have to take into consideration when we’re doing all of these events. We also had our Christmas Tree lighting last Sunday and that was a huge success. And we our having a new event this year, we are having lights at the Peter Barry Duff Park. Staff have been installing Christmas lights in the park and they’re doing a light up walking loop in the park, so it’s a great opportunity for people to get out to enjoy that.”

The Town of Carbonear also received a call from Santa Claus saying he would not be able to make it to Carbonear on Sunday due to the high winds and rain.

The 71st annual Carbonear Santa Claus Parade will now be held on Saturday, December 18 — weather permitting, of course.

Meanwhile, the Town of Holyrood rescheduled its Santa Claus parade. The big guy moved ahead his visit to Saturday, so as to avoid Sunday’s wind and rain.

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