Surrey’s Santa Parade hinges on sponsors

Cloverdale businesses are urged to step up with parade sponsorships to cover security and lighted big rig truck costs.

One of the lighted big rigs from Vancouver Island that participated in the Surrey Santa Parade of Lights in Cloverdale last year.

One of the lighted big rigs from Vancouver Island that participated in the Surrey Santa Parade of Lights in Cloverdale last year.

They’re the highlight of Cloverdale’s annual Santa Parade, but decorated big rigs won’t be rolling down main street this Christmas – unless local businesses once again help cover costs.

An appeal for financial assistance for Surrey’s Santa Parade of Lights went out last week, urging Cloverdale’s business community to step up with $500 parade sponsorships or other forms of help.

The  annual evening parade winds its way though the historic town centre every December, drawing thousands of spectators. The event culminates with the arrival of Santa Claus, along with a dazzling lighted procession of big rig trucks from Vancouver Island and the Fraser Valley.

Ferry transportation costs of the Island Equipment Owners Association have traditionally been borne by B.C. Ferries.

“They have been forced to cut back and cannot assist again this year with any discounts,” the appeal says.

The charitable discount ended last year, according to Paul Orazietti, executive director of the Cloverdale Business Improvement Association, which co-sponsors the parade along with the Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce. When sponsors were approached for $500 contributions in 2013, they readily answered the call, securing 12 big rigs for the parade.

Additional traffic control and policing costs are another burden.

Last year, city hall asked organizers to avoid the use of volunteers, resulting in an unanticipated budget shortfall.

This year, the City of Surrey has provided the Cloverdale BIA and Cloverdale Chamber of Commerce with $6,000 funding for policing and traffic control, or about 75 per cent of the cost.

“We would appreciate any help or potential sponsors that you may be able to direct us, to help put on this wonderful event which is highly attended,” the appeal said.

The Parade of Lights also functions as a food drive for the Surrey Food Bank and Surrey Christmas Bureau.

To find out more, call the BIA at 604-576-3155 or 604-574-9802 to reach the Cloverdale Chamber.

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