This will be the third straight year a pair of longtime friends from Olds will bring Christmas cheer to central Alberta with their carolling truck.
Walter Moebis and Clint Jackson first decided to turn a pickup truck into a holiday-theme, music-playing vehicle in late 2020, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Olds has an annual Santa Claus parade. Clint is an airbrush artist … and I was driving a truck for him in 2020 – he was busy on another float at the time,” Moebis said.
“That year, because we weren’t able to make crowds of people, it was decided the parade would be split up and we’d drive around town in the residential areas.”
After the parade, the two started to take the float apart. But they decided “it would be great” to keep the feeling of holiday cheer going through Christmas, Moebis said.
The truck features airbrush murals, lights and Santa’s sleigh – they drive it around the town, as well as occasional visits to nearby communities like Bowden and Didsbury.
Since that first Christmas, the vehicle has also been decorated for Valentine’s Day and Halloween. Overall, 2021 was a difficult year to continue the tradition, the two admitted.
While they were decorating the truck for Halloween 2021, Moebis’ son Mark died.
“We started decorating the truck and Walter got a phone call (saying) that his son had passed away,” said Jackson.
“Walter phone me and said he won’t be be able to doing (the Halloween truck). Later on, he and his wife got talking. Halloween was Mark’s favourite time of year, so they decided to do it in memory of Mark.”
Around the same time, Jackson’s father Eugene died.
“Rather than us sitting around and getting more depressed, we decided we could get through our own grief by putting smiles on everybody else’s faces,” said Moebis.
“On Halloween we decorated the truck in honour of EMS, my son Mark and Clint’s dad Eugene. On the sleigh, we still have it say, ‘In memory of Mark and Eugene.’”
The truck was a part of the Santa Claud Parade of Lights in Olds on Nov. 19. They were named the 2022 reserve champion of the holiday spirit float.
Additionally, the truck makes trips local senior’s lodges “almost every night,” Jackson noted.
For more information on the truck, visit www.facebook.com/carolingchristmastruck.