BIA floats idea of drive-through Santa Parade

A Ready-Mix Concrete truck rolls through Cloverdale Dec. 1, 2019 for the 14th annual Surrey Santa Parade of Lights. This year’s parade will not go ahead in its traditional form, but may occur as a drive-through event. (Photo: Olivia Johnson)
A woman crosses 176 Street in a photo circa 1961. Duckworth’s and the Cloverdale Hotel can be seen on the right. Paul Orazietti, executive director for the Cloverdale BIA, said he’s installing decorative lighting, much like the lighting seen in the photo, across 176th Street. (Courtesy of the Surrey Archives / 180.1.85)
Paul Orazietti, executive director for the Cloverdale BIA, is seen on Sept. 17, 2020. (Photo: Malin Jordan)

A parade of cars may replace the procession of floats for this year’s Surrey Santa Parade of Lights.

Paul Orazietti, executive director for the Cloverdale BIA, and chief organizer for the annual event, said the regular parade won’t happen, but added a car-only event may occur in December.

“We cannot encourage people to stand on the side of the road and stand beside each other,” said Orazietti. “We have to answer a couple of questions about a possible drive-through parade, but hopefully within a week or so we’ll be able to formally announce if it will go ahead or not.”

The idea is that a parade of cars would stream through the fairgrounds on a one-way circuit to view all the static floats.

“We started talking to everyone [involved with the parade] and they all said they wanted to do something,” noted Orazietti.

He said the idea for a drive-through parade of lights came on the heels of a car show at the Tradex building in Abbotsford.

SEE ALSO: PHOTOS: Surrey Santa Parade of Lights rolls through Cloverdale

“The vehicles were put inside and people drove through to view the cars,” explained Orazietti. “So I called the guy at the rodeo and he said, ‘yeah, that sounds cool.’ After that, the biggest roadblock then was the City, but I called them and they said, ‘Wow! What a great idea.’”

Orazietti added that they’ve already mapped out the route cars would take on the fairgrounds, looked at how many people they can handle at once, and studied how they would keep traffic flowing smoothly.

“It’s premature to say it will go ahead, because we still have some logistics to work out,” said Orazietti. “But if we do, ultimately, people could drive into the fairgrounds down by the Truck Museum—there’d be people there accepting donations for the same charities we always support, the food bank, the Christmas Bureau, the Cloverdale Kitchen, and the Rodeo Foundation—and they’d be able to wind their way along in their vehicles and enjoy viewing the floats.”

Orazietti said he’s had good feedback already from an informal Facebook survey.

SEE ALSO: Cloverdale BIA reaches out to businesses and workers affected by COVID-19

“We had over 16,000 responses and the bulk have been very positive. Some have suggested a two-day event. So we are looking at few different scenarios.”


In other BIA news, Orazietti said he’s one step away from installing new lighting on 176th Street.

“We’re waiting on one last technical report from the manufacturer.”

The retro, tungsten-style lights would be strung across the street at numerous points from lamppost to lamppost—much like Cloverdale had in the 1960s (see Surrey Archives picture)—on 176th Street between Highway 10 and 58A Avenue. He said lights will also go up in Hawthorne Square.

According to Orazietti, the BIA is covering the cost for the lights, but he’s hoping the City can donate the power.

SEE ALSO: ‘Supernatural’ brings the 1950s to Cloverdale

“Over a five-year time period, these lights have 100,000 hours of life.”

He said the automatic-sensor lights will come on in the early evening and shut off sometime after 11 p.m.

“It’s decorative lighting. We want to make the area brighter,” Orazietti explained. “The idea is that we create a light canopy.”

Orazietti said he doesn’t have a timeline for when the lights will be installed, but he thinks they’ll be put in sometime in the next month or so.

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