Dear Santa: parade organizers would like $68,000… now, please Sponsor pulls $50,000 pledge, 109th year on the brink

Santa Claus won't be comin' to town without your help.

Read this article for free:


Already have an account? Log in here »

To continue reading, please subscribe with this special offer:

All-Access Digital Subscription

$4.75 per week*

  • Enjoy unlimited reading on
  • Read the E-Edition, our digital replica newspaper
  • Access News Break, our award-winning app
  • Play interactive puzzles

*Pay $19.00 every four weeks. GST will be added to each payment. Subscription can be cancelled anytime.

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 24/09/2018 (1598 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Santa Claus won’t be comin’ to town without your help.

Organizers of the annual Santa Claus Parade say $68,000 is needed by Oct. 5 in order to hold the 109th edition of the parade, which is scheduled for Nov. 17 along Portage Avenue.

Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade board chairman Rennie Zegalski issued a public plea Monday for financial help. The statement said parade organizers had begun building a replacement float to carry Santa and his sleigh after a sponsor stepped forward with a $50,000 pledge that has now been withdrawn.

RUTH BONNEVILLE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Employees of StuartOlson volunteer their time to prepare the Santa float for last year's parade.

Now money is desperately needed to finish the job and replace St. Nick’s rickety old ride.

“This will be the 109th this year so it’s another generation of families who have enjoyed this tradition,” said parade director Monica Derksen.

“The concept and the feeling of community is something that never become irrelevant so we want to continue this whole beloved tradition.”

“We are still looking for other sponsorships. We’re looking for corporate partners, we’re looking for a benefactor or fund” – parade director Monica Derksen

In July, it was announced that Santa’s float had been declared unsafe and organizers asked Winnipeggers to help raise $100,000 for a new one through GoFundMe. As of Monday, $33,380 had been donated.

“Because it (the Santa float) is in production — we started building it in April, as it’s an eight-month process — so we have been making our payments in building this. So come parade day, we don’t have enough money for operations itself,” said Derksen.

The need for a new float for the jolly old elf has doubled the cost of the event this year for the independent, registered not-for-profit organization, she said.

“We are still looking for other sponsorships. We’re looking for corporate partners, we’re looking for a benefactor or fund,” she said. “At this point, we’re very open to however that comes.

“We definitely do love the community aspect of the GoFundMe. That way people can feel personally like they’re contributing and helping out.”

The fundraising campaign offers rewards for donors who give amounts of $500, $1,250, $2,500 or $5,000. 

Manitoba Hydro, on board as the presenting sponsor, is in its 20th year of supporting the parade.

The now-defunct department store Eaton’s launched the Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade in 1909.

TREVOR HAGAN / WINNIPEG FRESS PRESS FILES Bubbles from the Kickin' Up Kountry float were popular during the Santa Claus Parade in 2016.

The largest night-time parade in Canada and the second largest Santa parade in the country, Winnipeg’s November event kicks off the winter season and typically draws about 60,000 people. About 75 floats roll through the downtown area on Portage Avenue.

Spectators standing or sitting on lawn chairs or curbs line the street to view the spectacle of lights and floats and catch a glimpse of Santa in his sleigh on the final float.

Two weeks ago, a team of Winnipeg Jets’ wives and girlfriends and families were announced as the 2018 parade’s grand marshals.

“Obviously, everyone at True North and with the Winnipeg Jets Wives & Girlfriends thinks it’s a really unfortunate circumstance that the Santa Claus Parade might not go forward after 108 years,” team spokesman Scott Brown told the Free Press in an email.

“Hopefully, the proper funding can be found and the girls and their families will be able to still be the grand marshals.”

Individual donors can click here, and businesses are asked to email


Updated on Monday, September 24, 2018 5:50 PM CDT: Fixes typos

Report Error Submit a Tip