Santa parade to light up Cloverdale

Organizers have added a longer parade route, more entries to keep up with the throngs of spectators.

Fun for the whole family: Surrey's Santa Parade of Lights in Cloverdale.

Fun for the whole family: Surrey's Santa Parade of Lights in Cloverdale.

Cloverdale is the place to be this Sunday, when the 7th Annual Surrey’s Santa Parade of Lights will thrill and dazzle thousands in the historic town centre.

It’s a traditional parade with floats, antique vehicles festooned with strings of Christmas lights, horses and more. There’s also an amazing lighted truck parade featuring big rigs, including 10 from Vancouver Island.

Along with dignitaries, businesses, and various community groups, look for new additions, including various Girl Guides, Scouts, and even the championship Whalley Little League team.

The parade will also see the unveiling of three vintage freight trucks that returned to Cloverdale earlier this year, thanks to the Surrey Heritage Society, which is working to open a new transportation heritage centre at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds.

The parade gets underway at 5 p.m.

Be sure to bring along donations of non-perishable food items and new, unwrapped toys.

Donations for the Surrey Christmas Bureau and the Surrey Food Bank will be collected along the parade route.

Don’t forget to drop by the Cloverdale Learning next to Hawthorne Square. It’s holding an open house, with kids’ crafts, face painting and ornament making.

Along with hosting entertainment, food, and Christmas displays, Hawthorne Square will also act as a collection depot for donations to the Surrey Food Bank and the Surrey Christmas Bureau.

Get there early – crowds will be lining the streets for the parade, rain or shine.

Last year’s phenomenal turnout, an estimated 15,000 – so many there were more spectators than the actual parade route could handle – convinced organizers to add more floats and lighted entries.

The parade route has also doubled for 2012, marshaling at the Cloverdale Fairgrounds at 60 Avenue, turning right on 177B Street, south to 58 Avenue, and west to 176 Street. The parade then heads south again to Highway 10.

“We’ve added three additional blocks, based on the fact that last year we reached capacity,” says Paul Orazietti, executive director of the Cloverdale BIA, which co-organizes the parade with the Cloverdale District Chamber of Commerce.

The arrival of the man of the hour – Santa Claus – is always a dramatic moment.

Past years have seen the Jolly Old Elf seated inside a fairytale pumpkin carriage or atop a trailer.

What will Santa be on this year? It’s a closely-guarded secret, but here’s a hint: it will be a fitting symbol of the transportation heritage theme that’s gaining ground in Cloverdale.

The tree lighting ceremony takes place at approximately 6:30 p.m. at Hawthorne Square in the 5700-block of 176 Street.

To volunteer, carol or build a float, contact the Cloverdale BIA at 604-576-3155 or the Cloverdale Chamber at 604-574-9802.