Light the City takes root in Greater Victoria as pandemic cancels holiday favourite parade, convoy

Five weeks of drive-thru events fill void of IEOA annual Truck Light Convoy, Santa Claus Parade

A pair of holiday favourite events will adapt and change to suit 2020, say organizers who have officially cancelled the Greater Victoria Festival Society 39th Annual Santa Claus Parade and the Island Equipment Owners Association 22nd Annual Truck Light Convoy and Food Drive.

After a couple weeks of deliberation, the groups issued a joint statement this week that with the ongoing uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic and the inability to safely host the usual crowds, they could not go ahead with the events as previously.

Both the GVFS and the IEOA want to support the community and continue the purpose of these events, which is to raise funds, food donations and toys for local food banks, they said in a joint release.

READ ALSO: Truck Light Convoy draws large crowds to Greater Victoria streets (video)

“This year especially we need to be #Inittogetheryyj and join forces to help fill the shelves of our local donation centres and brighten our community as best we can with the magic of the holiday season,” said a letter signed by Wendy Watt, the manager of the IEOA and Kelly Kurta, executive director of the GVFS.

In that thread, the Greater Victoria Festival Society will host a five-week Light Up The City campaign beginning the day the Santa Claus Parade would have been held – Nov. 28. The campaign, on through Jan. 3, 2021, will see event organizers in the city pool resources and collaborate on a series drive-thru events every Saturday in the ‘core’ municipalities across Greater Victoria.

They will accept the standard fare – non-perishable food, new toys and cash donations – to share with local food banks, Salvation Army and toy drives. Events will feature Santa and Mrs. Claus to wave at, convoy trucks aglow, music and more. Social distancing practices will be in place.

The Greater Victoria Festival Society is also bringing back the Christmas Lighting Contest throughout all 13 municipalities with winners to be in each ‘core’ municipality. The categories include homes, apartment/condos, local businesses, community organizations and First Nations.

Organizers expect to finalize details of the Light Up The City campaign over the next few weeks.

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