I am fortunate to live on the parade route, so each year my friend Else comes to join me for a simple dinner and a glass of wine, and at the first sounding of the siren - the mark that the parade is starting - we rush outside to watch the show. This year we were joined by our friend Liz and her dog Sasha.
We all agreed that this was the best parade yet - longer than last year's (possibly a function of the next community having to cancel their parade the previous night due to the horrible storm - we did notice the word "Chemainus" on a few floats and banners), and more colourful too. Participants included numerous First Responders, service clubs, sports teams, Crofton's one and only church, the school, the municipality, and of course local businesses.
And, of course, it wouldn't be a parade without the jolly old man himself, who always brings up the rear, riding in one of the fire department's vehicles. I suspect he has a special relationship with fire departments around the world, who urge everyone to have their chimneys inspected and cleaned regularly. Can't have Santa getting dirty - or worse, getting knocked on the noggin by a falling brick!
After the parade has completed its short route down one street and back up another (I did say we are a SMALL community!), with sirens bleating, candies tossed, and many shouts of "Merry Christmas", everyone headed over to the blocked off section of the main street, where the church musicians lead a community sing along, the school choir gives a lovely performance, and Mike's Cafe serves up free food and beverages. Up the street a bit, Cedrick's cafe offers free mulled apple cider.
And all around me, people are laughing and talking and singing, kids are playing and dancing, and we all feel content, wrapped in a warm blanket of Community Spirit and Christmas Cheer.