By Frank Bucholtz/Special to Aldergrove Star
This year’s Christmas parade in Aldergrove could be the biggest ever.
That possibility is suggested by Mike Robinson, parade manager, who knows what he is talking about. He has been involved with the parade for more than 25 years.
Several factors indicate that the parade and surrounding festivities on Saturday will be a major event.
The Christmas tree light-up this past Sunday (See story page 10) proved to be very popular, attracting hundreds of residents, including many families. Snow on the ground and winter-like weather definitely added a real Christmas feel, Robinson said.
The formation of a Christmas events committee this year has also been a major step forward.
It has brought together Aldergrove Agricultural Fair and Festival Association, Aldergrove Community Association, Aldergrove Business Association, Aldergrove Rotary Club, and Aldergrove Elks.
All are key volunteer-run organizations in the community.
The various groups have found that by working together they are able to accomplish a lot.
Weekly committee meetings are ensuring that details are being taken care of, and letting others know where help is needed.
In addition to the tree lighting event and the parade and pre-parade events on Saturday, the committee has organized Christmas light-up contests for businesses, and for residents. Prizes will be awarded.
Saturday’s events will begin at 4:30 p.m. at the Aldergrove Plaza (former Alder Inn site) at 272nd Street and Fraser Highway. This event has been moved to a time slot before the parade which will be more family-friendly for those with small children. It will also incorporate the annual Elks’ Christmas party, which in past years has been held at various venues after the parade.
The pre-parade venue is along the parade route, so it will be simple for people to find locations where they can watch it go by.
At the pre-parade event, the Elks will supply popcorn and hot chocolate. A tent where photos with Santa can be taken will be set up. There will be another where letters to Santa can be written and posted.
A variety of entertainment is also planned for the Spirit Stage, and there will be other activities to get ready for the parade, which begins at 6 p.m.
Aldergrove Food Bank will be on hand and will accept donations of food and cash.
Cashmere Roder, president of the ACA, said that all events planned for Saturday are free. If people wish to donate to the food bank, they are encouraged to do so – but there is no obligation.
“We want to take the stress away from having to say ‘no’,” she said.
She adds that many families are finding this Christmas season more difficult with much-higher costs for food, rent, gas, and other necessities. Organizers want everyone in Aldergrove to feel welcome at the event, and forget any stresses they may be feeling over money.
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The entire event is organized and managed by volunteers. They want to give back to the community and take a lot of joy from seeing the appreciation from residents – particularly from children, Roder said.
Organizers have made sure they can accommodate lots of people and “there will be a few hours of good entertainment.”
New residents of Aldergrove are especially welcomed, Roder said.
“Come with your kids, come with your friends. It is free family fun.”
She noted Langley Township is covering all costs for the Spirit Stage, and support from the Township is appreciated.
The parade, formally known as the Aldergrove Christmas Light-Up Parade, gets underway at 6 p.m. It will begin near Fraser Highway and Old Yale Road and travel along Fraser to about 273rd Street.
There was no parade in 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions, and last year’s parade was well-attended.
If last year’s parade is any indication, the streets will be packed with people.
Robinson says he “gets a lot of joy out of putting something together that people appreciate.”
Robin McIntosh, president of the fair and festival association, said that there were more than 35 entries registered, and he expects there will be quite a few more.
There will be hotrods, military vehicles, sports groups, a baton club, a dance academy, and several other community groups. Floats of course will be a big part of it – and floats decorated with Christmas lights really brighten up the night, making it a special holiday event, said McIntosh.
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