Parade helps families kick off holiday season
Santa Claus waves to the crowds of excited children lining Mississaga Street during Sunday's parade in downtown Orillia. ROBERTA BELL The Packet & Times
Adyson Benedek paced back and forth along the curb of Mississaga Street, stopping every so often to lean out and make sure she didn't miss him.
While she was exceptionally patient, an hour-and-a-half can feel like a lifetime for a four-year-old waiting to see Santa.
Benedek, her two younger sisters and her parents were among the of thousands of people lining the streets of downtown Orillia for the annual Santa Claus parade Sunday afternoon.
"It gets them all excited for Christmas," said her dad, Brian.
The young family attends each year. It's the way they kick off the holiday season.
Lauri Kowalyk of Snow Valley has been bringing her son Alekz, seven, and daughter Hannah, 10, to the parade for the past few years.
"It's a tradition," she said, adding the next step will be to get their family tree.
Although Hannah, like most kids, was excited for finale, she doesn't sell the parade short.
"I think I just like seeing everybody on the floats waving," she said. "I just like how people are smiling and getting into the Christmas spirit."
More 80 community groups travelled up Colborne Street, along Volunteer Drive and down Mississaga Street this year, with 40 floats leading the way for Santa and his reindeer, said Doug Bunker of the Orillia District Chamber of Commerce, who spent months preparing for event.
With "mother nature on our side," it was a "great parade," he said.