Santa rides in the back of a pick-up truck during the Ross River Santa parade. This is the first year the community has hosted a Christmas parade. (Submitted)

Santa rides in the back of a pick-up truck during the Ross River Santa parade. This is the first year the community has hosted a Christmas parade. (Submitted)

Ross River hosts first ever Christmas parade

Santa flown in to bring gifts

A special visitor made a surprise trip to Ross River Dec. 15 in time for the community’s first ever Christmas parade.

With his reindeer resting up for Christmas Eve, the star of any Christmas parade, Santa Claus, was flown in by Tintina Air as many in the community worked together to host a parade following the cancellation of the annual Christmas party held each year at the Ross River School.

Normally, Santa shows up to hand out gifts and goodies to Ross River kids at the school Christmas party.

When it was announced the annual party couldn’t happen due to COVID-19, work by the Dena Nezziddi Development Corporation (which is owned by the Ross River Dena Council) got underway to plan for an alternative.

As community member Kim Readies said in a Dec. 16 interview, many began thinking about how to get the gifts to kids as safely as possible and the idea of the parade was born.

“Everybody just kind of pulled together,” she said, noting there were about 50 who volunteered to help out with the parade in a variety of ways.

Vehicles and equipment were decorated with lights that toured through the community with volunteer runners dropping off Santa’s gifts on doorsteps while residents watched the parade.

Dena Nezziddi Development Corporation CEO Stanley Noel said knowing Santa wanted to visit Ross River, the development corporation decided to help connect Santa with Yukon businesses for the evening’s festivities.

Along with trucks and equipment being decorated for the parade, local RCMP, EMS, health workers and community volunteers also took part with Santa waving to everyone along the parade route.

“This was a very special night for a rural Yukon community,” Santa said in a statement, “All the gifts handed out were made in the Yukon, including my local favorites Klondike Kettle Corn and Yukon Chocolate Company bars.”

From his view aboard a parade float, Santa estimated the community’s entire population of 300 was on hand to take in the parade from their doorways or driveways.

“It lifted people’s spirits,” Readies said, noting volunteers like herself had a lot of fun with the event.

As for whether a Christmas parade will become a tradition for Ross River, Readies said time will tell and could largely depend on circumstances in the coming years.

For 2020, it was a positive way to bring Christmas to the community in what has been a challenging year.

Contact Stephanie Waddell at stephanie.waddell@yukon-news.com

Santa Claus

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