Safety important for the Parade of Lights

The Weyburn Chamber of Commerce is keeping safety at the forefront as they organize their 25th annual Parade of Lights, and was part of the reason for changing the date from Dec. 6 to Tuesday, Dec. 4.

The organizers made the change as it conflicted with a home game for the Weyburn Red Wings, and as the parade organizes and starts at the fair grounds where hockey fans will be parking, the date change was made, said Twila Walkeden, manager of the Chamber of Commerce.

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“Safetyis the Chamber of Commerce’s number one objective with respect to both the summer and winter parades,” said Walkeden, noting this has always been the case for the Chamber.

The issue of safety arose as a four-year-girl died in a tragic accident over the weekend after falling under a float at a Santa parade in Nova Scotia.

The Chamber has safety protocols in place to make sure the parade will go off without any incident, said Walkeden.

“Each parade entrant is instructed not to throw candy. If there are treats they wish to provide to spectators, they are to walk along the parade route and distribute to each person. This helps prevent children from darting onto the street to retrieve candy,” she said. “The parade is marshalled by members of the Weyburn Police Service, who are instructed to set a pace that is no faster than walking speed. City police members also direct traffic at all heavy traffic flow intersections.”

There is no entry fee to put a float into the parade, and those interested are asked to register by Monday, Dec. 3.

The start time of 7 p.m., with lineup at 6:30, and the parade route are unchanged. The parade is to start from the exhibition grounds, heading east on Prairie Avenue to Third Street.

The parade will then head down Third Street from the Court House through the downtown to Railway Avenue, will go up one block and head north on Second Street, turning at Bison Avenue back to Government Road, where the parade will disperse.

For the third consecutive year, the Chamber will have Third Street blocked off between Railway and Coteau Avenues in order to help eliminate parked cars in this area. This is done with safety in mind, and is an area where families can gather to watch the parade without having the hazard and obstructed view resulting from parked cars. Those volunteers supervising the barricades on this street wear reflective visibility vests, noted Walkeden.

The Chamber will also have Santa Claus on hand as the finale for the parade, and requests no other floats have a Santa to avoid any confusion. Organizers also suggest that floats have lights on them to make them bright and cheerful in the parade.

“We would encourage all of those participating and watching this year’s parade to make themselves as visible as possible by wearing reflective or light-colored clothing,” said Walkeden.