Christmas may be more than six weeks away, but Santa Claus and his helpers will make a special stop in Winnipeg next week.
The 103rd Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade will be held Saturday, Nov. 17 and feature the big guy in red in addition to more than 100 floats winding through downtown Winnipeg. More than 60,000 Winnipeggers are expected to line the parade route, which will start at Portage Avenue and Young Street and end at The Forks.
The parade kicks off with Santa’s block parties at 4 p.m., and the parade starts at 5 p.m. Fireworks will follow at The Forks at 7 p.m. This year, Olympic bronze medalist Desiree Scott is the parade’s grand marshal.
Santa said it’s always a pleasure to fly over Winnipeg, and that most local kids have made the "nice list" this year.
"So far kids have been really good this year," Santa said, following a press conference today to launch the big event at city hall. "All of the kids have been really nice."
Scott said bringing home a bronze medal was a fantastic feat and she’s very excited and honoured to be part of this year’s parade. She said Christmas is one of her favourite times of year as it bring people together.
About 700 volunteers and 2,000 participants help put on the parade, which in turn, supports the Christmas Cheer Board. Winnipeggers are reminded to bring a non-perishable food item or new, unwrapped toy as a donation.
Santa said Rudolph has been shining up his nose for the big day, and the elves — except for one — have been working hard making toys. Alvin the Elf hitched a ride from the North Pole today, and Santa was displeased to see one of his workers causing trouble amidst their busy season and "play hooky." However, he said there’s still time for Alvin to make the nice list.
This year, Santa said his sleigh will be so full of tech gadgets, he may have to make multiple trips.
He said kids have been asking for iPods and the Xbox video game console, in particular.
"It takes up so much room Santa almost has to make two trips from the North Pole," he said.