Stay ho-ho-home: Winnipeg Santa Claus parade going virtual in light of pandemic

Don’t worry, Santa Claus is still coming to town — just virtually this year.

The Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade is moving indoors for the first time in 111 years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“It’s evolved so many times. We’ve had a number of different formats that we’ve started on and gotten approved by the board and worked on and then another change would hit our community. And so we keep on shifting,” said parade director Monica Derksen.

“Our primary concern is to make sure that people are safe.”

Instead of floats and twinkly lights, families can expect interactive virtual activities they can participate in from home.

The events, which start on Tuesday, include colouring contests and carol singing, Derksen said. It will all culminate in a video that features Santa, as well as videos that people send in in December.

“A parade always brings out 50,000 people so that we tried to, as much as possible, to get people a format that people can still participate in, but from their homes and from safety,” she said.

Although this new format is evolving and exciting, Derksen said, she can’t wait for 2021.

“We’re very excited to get back to normal next year. We hope that’s going to be the case.”

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