The Yukon’s newest updated COVID regulations came the same day as this year’s Winterval Festival Santa Parade was finally announced. Though this year’s parade was originally supposed to take place on Main St and involve community members gathering together to watch it, it was an easy pivot to rehash the 2020 parade plans of having the parade travel through multiple Whitehorse neighbourhoods for a second year, according to CSR Management president and director of innovation, Anne Lewis.

“We had that backup plan ready to go,” said Lewis. “It was a pretty fast switch for us.”

Because typically, the Santa Parade being on Main St brings locals to the area and in turn supports the small businesses in downtown Whitehorse, Lewis said it was difficult to have to make alternate plans for the second consecutive year, but ultimately, the Santa Parade will still serve its purpose of kicking off the Christmas season in the Yukon.

“As always, it’s an exercise in just being positive and proactive,” she said. “We were pretty excited to be able to head back to Main St, but we had a really amazing parade last year, going to as many neighbourhoods as we could get to in a two-hour period.” 

In the interest of maintaining physical distancing and practicing pandemic safety measures, patrons of this year’s parade are encouraged to stay with their bubbles to watch the parade as it passes through Whitehorse’s residential neighbourhoods. 

“Folks can expect a very similar, beautiful, engaging parade like last year, travelling around the communities,” said Lewis. 

By giving local businesses and NGOs the chance to get together for the designing and building of the floats, Lewis said the Santa Parade fosters creativity and brings joy to the community, noting that chances to spread joy are much needed these days.

“A lot of people’s lights went up really early this year,” she said. “I think we all needed a little extra light to end the year.” 

Another similarity to last year’s parade is that this year’s proceeds will be donated to the Yukon Imagination Library. Previously, the parade had not been aligned with any specific charity, but this year, the parade team felt it was the right move to continue supporting this one. 

“It was really important for us to find a good home for that,” Lewis said. “The Yukon Imagination Library is something that supports almost every child and Yukoner, or it will.”

This year’s Winterval Festival Santa Parade will take place on Saturday, December 4, from 5 until 7 p.m. The annual tree lighting at the end of Main St will take place at 5:30, and the parade will visit neighbourhoods including Porter Creek, Riverdale, Copper Ridge and many more during its two-hour run. The Winterval Festival Santa Parade is a private sector event organized by CSR Management and North Country Consulting, meaning it receives no government funding, instead relying on its sponsors, which include Banyan Gold and Victoria Gold Corp

To read more about this year’s event and see the neighbourhood route, visit https://m-partners.facebook.com/WhitehorseSantaParade/.

“It’s an official signal that Christmas is here,” said Lewis.