Santa returns to downtown London Saturday

London children will be cheering as Santa returns to London on Saturday.

The 66th annual Santa Claus Parade is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. downtown. This year’s theme is Musical Christmas.

“There will be more than 30 floats, five bands, lamas and fire trucks. You name it, we pretty much have them this year,” said Sean Merton, executive director of the parade.

Upcoming bands include the Heavenly Marching Band, Shelly Rastin, Golden Harps Steel Orchestra and Bobnoxious from Toronto.

Floats and performers will line up along Egerton Street on Dundas Street. The parade will head west in Dundas through the east end and downtown before ending at Dundas and Ridout streets. From any given point on the route, it should last an hour and 15 minutes.

“If you want to track it, you can do it live on our website and it will show a tracker on Google showing where the parade is currently,” Merton noted. “So you can see in real time where it is and how long it takes before it reaches you.”

Parade attendees were asked to bring non-perishables to the London Food Bank and cartoon toys for the annual Toonie Toss. The money raised through the toss goes to help pay for some of the cost of the march, which Merton said has grown substantially over the past few years.

“This year has been a tough year for donations…Our costs have skyrocketed with insurance and policing costs. We’re six separate people who put it all together. We’re not a business,” Merton Say.

He hopes people, as well as businesses and organizations, will help supplement the small budgets of nonprofits with donations. parade website.

Planning for this year’s parade began shortly after last year’s festivities, and while it was a lot of work for a small group of volunteers, Merton said they couldn’t imagine not attending the much-anticipated annual event.

“There are always days when things change and you have a lot to figure out, but when you go down the parade route and see the smiling faces of those kids, it’s worth all the effort every time,” Merton said.

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