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Kick off the 2019 holiday season with one of Victoria’s most beloved Christmas traditions – the 38th annual Island Farms Santa’s Light Parade!
The streets of downtown Victoria will be lit up on Saturday, November 30th, kicking off the holiday season in spectacular style.
Over 50,000 people are expected to make their way downtown, so get there early to find a good spot to view the show.
“Rain or shine, it will be packed downtown,” says Kelly Kurta, Executive Director of the Greater Victoria Festival Society. “Everybody’s really excited for it. It’s a great feeling. It’s a holiday feeling.”
The highlight of the parade is the Island Farms float, which carries jolly Old Saint Nick through the streets.
Starting at 5 p.m., Santa’s parade — which is also the largest nighttime parade in Canada — will make its way up Government Street.
The display starts at Belleville Street and ends in Centennial Square — dubbed “Christmas Square” for the evening and featuring food trucks, bouncy castles, crafts and music from 4 p.m. onwards.
After the parade, all the good children (and adults, too) can snack on free cookies and milk handed out by Santa Claus himself at Christmas Square. The annual Christmas Tree Light-Up takes place at 7 p.m. sharp so don’t be late for that!
Without further ado, here are 7 tips from the Greater Victoria Festival Society to prepare for this evening’s festive fun:
Nothing worse than feeling chilly while standing or sitting around waiting for the parade (also, it’s Victoria so bring an Umbrella, although the weather is calling for clear skies!)
Kids in front, adults in the back
Make sure you’re letting the littles in the front so they can witness the wonder first hand (note: kids in front, adults in the back). And if your little one wants to be on your shoulders, it’s best for you to be near the back then as well so as to not block everyone else’s view.
Stay on the sidewalk!
The parade floats are super pretty but they are vehicles and we don’t want anyone to get hurt. The safest place to be is on the sidewalk with your little ones sitting on the curb, NOT on the roadway. Volunteers will be on the route reminding folks to keep the parade route clear at all times. Parents: be sure to keep your kids close and not let them run into the street during the parade.
Bring a seat
Bring something to sit on if you get a prime spot! Many parents bring down blankets or small camping chairs for their kids to sit on and watch the magic in comfort!
Come downtown early and take advantage of the delicious offerings in our Christmas Square and bring the treats with you as you scout out your fave parade watching spot.
Don’t leave a mess
Please remember this is our beautiful city and we want to keep it clean. Whatever you bring downtown (food, etc) please be sure to pick up after yourselves post parade.
Donate a toy
Bring a toy for Helmet Head Canada and a food donation for The Mustard Seed Street Church!
Most important tip
Have Fun! Clap for the floats you love, sing along with Santa and enjoy this time together with your friends, family and community!
- When: Saturday, November 30th, parade starts at 5 p.m
- Where: Along Government Street (starts at Belleville Street and ends in Centennial Square)
- Butchart Gardens’ annual Christmas lights ceremony is happening on Sunday
- The Sidney Sparkles Christmas Parade is happening this Sunday