It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas

By Rob Patry

 

If ever the word spirit could be associated with a place, it would be St. Stephen at Christmas time. This little town of four thousand plus grows and multiplies like the Grinch’s heart upon realizing the true meaning of Christmas. St. Stephen is about sharing, giving, donating, and caring. It’s still more than a month away from Christmas day; yet, the signs of the season are in the air. Lights and wreaths are adorning the downtown lamposts. The Christmas tree is sitting in its place at the Town Square in front of the Library awaiting the lighting spectacular. Everything is in a momentary state of suspension until Friday, November 18, when all will be revealed regarding the state of the North Pole’s biggest event of the year. “I want the children and their Mom’s and Dad’s to be at the Tree Lighting and the Santa Claus Parade,” says Alex Reid, St. Stephen Events Development Coordinator. He is quick to add, “This includes the kids from Calais!”

Santa has chosen two special elves to help conduct yuletide business in St. Stephen. Alex Reid and newcomer Katelyn Rodas, Lead Coordinator/Organizer for the parade.  Alex’s responsibilities include the lighting of the tree at 6:00 p.m. A.S.T. in the Town Square. Katelyn is Santa’s busiest elf organizing the parade. “It’s going to be an extraordinary year! Santa’s biggest parade yet!” Her first time at the helm, Santa personally picked Katelyn for her effervescent personality and her incredible perspective – the ability to see things through the eye of a child. “It’s a night time parade,” adds Katelyn, “so the lights accentuate just how beautiful the floats are. This year we have a lot of amazing floats! And KIDS! Write to Santa and bring your letter to the parade! Canada Post will be collecting letters along the parade route. Remember to include your full return address so Santa can write you back.” Letters should be addressed to:

Santa Claus

North Pole

H0H 0H0

Dot Larson, the ever smiling and waving elementary school crossing guard, will be the Grand Marshall.

Katelyn also understands an event like this can be quite overwhelming for many children. That’s why the parade will include the ‘Gentle Zone’. A section of the parade, which starts from the Ganong Chocolate Factory to the Tim Horton’s, will be part of the new concept. “We wanted an area for kids to feel safe. Anyone with noise or light sensitivity, autistic children, or any others who feel the trauma of multiple sensory occurrences can be secure in knowing loud sirens and horns will be excluded. Christmas music will be played, but at a lower volume,” says Katelyn.  Signs on the street will designate you are in the Gentle Zone.  Of course, the highlight will be the man in the red suit himself who assures everyone candies will be dispensed along the parade route by many of his helpers. 

Saturday culminates in Santa’s arrival at the Garcelon Civic Center. Children can have their photos taken with Santa. Complimentary hot chocolate and cookies will be served and sponsored by the St. Stephen-Milltown Rotary Club. There will be crafts provided by the Youth Centre and a Christmas movie corner for kids! Food bank donations will continue throughout the festivities. And finally, let’s not forget our four legged furry friends. On Sunday, Fido or Spot can have their photo taken with Santa at the downtown Chocolate Park.

Event:  St. Stephen Christmas Tree Lighting

Where:  St. Stephen Town Square Fountain (in front of the Library)

When:  Friday, November 18, 6:00 p.m. A.S.T. 

SANTA’S REQUEST:  Fill the fountain with the Gift of Food. Bring non-perishable food items. Hot Chocolate will be served. 

Event:  Santa Claus Parade – Rain or Shine

Where:  Starts at Ganong Bros. Limited (1 Chocolate Drive) and ends at St. Stephen’s University (Main Street)

When:  Friday, November 18, 6:30 p.m. A.S.T.

Event:  Santa’s Arrival

Where:  Garcelon Civic Center

When:  Saturday, November 19, 1:30 - 3:30 p.m. A.S.T.

Event:  Pet Photos with Santa

Where:  David Allison Ganong Park

When:  Sunday, November 20, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. A.S.T.

5X7 Photo with Santa $10.  All proceeds go to Charlotte County Animal Shelter

(Rain Date:  Sunday, November 27, 1:00 - 3:00 p.m. A.S.T.)