Regardless what Mother Nature has up her sleeve (the forecast calls for rain), downtown Aldergrove will be lit up for Christmas on Saturday.
Aldergrove’s Christmas Light Up Parade takes place Dec. 12, starting at 6 p.m. in downtown Aldergrove.
The fun kicks off with the Aldergrove Elks 21st annual Children’s Christmas Celebration, running from 3:30 to 5:30 pm at St. Joachim and Ann’s Parish, 2872 273rd St.
There will be lots of free festivties with face painting by Madam Butterfly, photos with Santa, and refreshments.
“The Elks are proud to serve the Aldergrove community, and the annual Children’s Christmas Celebration is one of our most important events of the year,” Elk Lodge #66 president Gary King said. “Our lodge members love seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces at this time of the year.”
Then, the 22nd annual Aldergrove Christmas Light Up Parade – hosted by the Aldergrove Agricultural Fair and Festival Association and co-sponsored by the Township of Langley – begins to roll, starting from Old Yale Road before heading east along Fraser Highway through downtown Aldergrove, from 270th to 273rd Street.
The Walter Levy trophy is presented to the Christmas home decorating contest winners.
Karen Long has been involved with organizing the parade for the past 15 years, and said, “we have received approximately 30 entries,” adding that there is still room for “some stragglers.”
The stretch of Fraser Highway from 270th to 273rd Street will be closed to traffic from 5:45 to 7 p.m. to accommodate the parade.
Among the highlights will be the pre-parade show featuring Township Fire Department’s fire trucks with horns sounding at the start of the parade.
After that, the parade starts off with the Legion Colour Party, along with what Long describes as an “amazing array of military vehicles” supplied by International Movie Services, local dignitaries, cadets, Girl Guides, Scouts, service groups, sports groups, local businesses, dance teams, and decorated vehicles.
“Then follow Santa to the parade after party,” Long recommended.
After the parade, all are invited to a family celebration in the north parking lot next to Extra Foods, at the Aldergrove Mall.
The Aldergrove Business Association (ABA) is hosting a post-parade street party from 6:30 to 8 p.m., which will feature an appearance from Santa Claus, facepainting, hot chocolate, hotdogs, popcorn and a special performance on the Spirit Stage by Her Brothers.
Her Brothers – made up of siblings Joshua, Gabriel, and Levi Penner and dad Jonathan – earned local fame in April when they won the Langley Has Talent finals.
ABA president Rob Wilson called last year’s inaugural street party “a tremendous success.”
“We’re incredibly grateful to our many member businesses for their support of this event,” Wilson said, “which is our way of saying thank you to those Aldergrovians who shop local not only at Christmastime but throughout the year.”
As for the weather, mid-December can bring all sorts of challenging conditions but that hasn’t stopped the parade entries from taking part, nor the folks who line Fraser Highway from welcoming them as they go past.
“You just never know,” Long said, looking back at one particularly chilly night. “We’ve had some really good ones and really bad ones [weather-wise]. One year it was so cold, the wind was blowing, there was ice, rain… but everybody showed up. That’s spirit for you.”
Long also thanked the Langley RCMP who help proceedings run smoothly. “They have been a big huge help for us, too,” Long said.
The parade, and all the festivities that surround it, is geared towards children, Long said: “The kids look so forward to it. There are so many kids as parade participants, and we have families who join in the parade.”
Dignitaries involved include Langley MP Mark Warawa, Fort Langley-Aldergrove MLA Rich Coleman, and Langley Township council members.
The parade and after-party has “lots of sponsors helping out,” Long said, including the Aldergrove Rotary Club, Otter Co-op, Extra Foods, Aldergrove Credit Union, Shopper’s Drug Mart, A&W, Aldergrove Star, Save-On Foods, Eze Rent It, Sunrise Washroom Rentals, 24/7 Security, Safeway, and Studio One Dance Centre.