I love a Santa Claus parade!

Kids love parades. Mine had never been to one until this past weekend, but they fully embraced it. I think it was the steady stream of candy canes handed out to them, or perhaps the anticipation of seeing Santa Claus riding on the final float. Whatever it was, they loved the lights and the waving and the crowd’s excitement and didn’t seem to mind standing around in chilly Banff for over an hour.

Avery and two friends wait for Santa (and more candy canes).

Avery and two friends wait for Santa (and more candy canes).

The Santa Claus parade down Banff Avenue takes place every year in early December. It concludes the town’s Christmas in the Rockies festival and is a kid-favourite.

Personally, I am not a parade person. Maybe it’s because I’m a jaded adult (or it’s the painful memories from my elementary school pom-pom years, marching in the Evergreen town parade), but I really do not enjoy standing around for hours watching decorated flatbed trucks filled with waving people crawl by at two kilomteres an hour. It’s the reason I’ve only been to the Calgary Stampede parade once.

Parades involve a lot of waving. Your arm will be tired.

Parades involve a lot of waving. Your arm will be tired.

But the great thing about Banff’s Santa Claus parade (and so I’ve been told, any small-town parade), is how short it is. With only 22 floats it lasts an hour tops. ( And I can easily wave at cute Aussie parade marchers wearing snowflake T-shirts for an hour.) What’s more, you can show up five minutes before the parade starts and get a spot right along the side of the road with no one obstructing your view. There aren’t even any barricades so kids can run into the parade route between floats and grab fallen candy canes off the street. And of course, saving Santa for the last float is a smart strategy to keep kids excited for the duration. “It’s Santa! It’s Santa, Mommy!” Bennett yelled. Avery was excited too, but she had more important concerns (like stuffing 30 candy canes into her pocket).

I’m sure Avery and Bennett will be bugging us to watch Calgary’s Stampede Parade next summer. If we can be guaranteed front-row seating, no wait, copious amounts of free candy and the best floats packed in to an hour, we’ll be there.

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