Area residents who enjoyed some first-rate Santa Claus parades in all three Minto communities this year have their volunteer firefighters and local businesses to thank.
While the parades in Palmerston, Clifford and Harriston are a true community effort, with every sector of the, including the municipality, local businesses and organizations taking part; it’s the firefighters who take a lead role in bringing Santa Claus to town each Christmas.
Minto Fire Chief Chris Harrow says the Firefighters Associations, the service club arm of each station, handle community service events such as firemen’s breakfasts and fundraising for Cystic Fibrosis and Camp Bucko (a summer camp for young burn victims).
For the parades, the firefighters handle soliciting donations from local businesses to cover the costs of staging the parade, including candy, prizes and plaques to hand out. Firefighters also organize the parade staging areas, after-parade events like the Skating with Santa event in Harriston this year and are in charge of setting up Santa’s float, which appears at the end of each parade.
“There’s a lot put into it, that people probably don’t know about, and that’s fine,” says Chief Harrow, noting that the firefighters do it out of a sense of community and a desire to serve.
“I think they all enjoy it immensely. It really brings the community together,” he states.
This year’s parades were held in Harriston (afternoon) and Clifford (evening) on November 28 and in Palmerston on Dec. 5.