Too bad parade experience spoiled; volunteer to make it better next year

In response to Jodi McCutcheon’s letter, Santa Claus Parade was a scary ordeal, published in the Advocate on Dec. 7.

In response to Jodi McCutcheon’s letter, Santa Claus Parade was a scary ordeal, published in the Advocate on Dec. 7.

The Biggest Christmas Tree Festival and Santa Claus Parade has been a tradition in our community for many years now and, for many, it serves as the kickoff to their festive season. For the past number of years, this event has also served as the official start to the Festival of Trees, a week-long series of events that raises much-needed funds for our Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre.

Since it began in Red Deer in 1994, the Festival of Trees has raised more than $7.2 million to purchase equipment for hospital programs and departments.

The Biggest Christmas Tree Festival and Santa Claus Parade is an event run by passionate volunteers. This small but mighty committee starts planning nine months in advance to bring this event to fruition. We are bolstered by generous sponsors and support from the Downtown Business Association and the City of Red Deer. It is our selfless and dedicated volunteer crew who bring this event to life!

Though McCutcheon’s experience is regrettable, and will be taken into account when volunteers begin meeting again in March to start planning for 2012, people must be accountable for the manner in which they act at public events and take ownership for their behaviour.

The individuals who pushed and blocked the view of McCutcheon’s children clearly did not take into account that their actions would have negative impacts on the experience of others and this is most unfortunate.

On behalf of our committee, we wish to thank all of the residents who attended the Biggest Christmas Tree Festival and Santa Claus Parade with their children and added to the magic and spirit that was felt in the downtown that night!

The vast majority of people came to see the lights, watch Santa Claus arrive, have their face painted and dance! Please do not allow the minority group of people who acted selfishly to keep you from attending this event in the future.

The best way to impart change is to volunteer your time and ideas to the event committee. We welcome people to step up to help make 2012 even more magical!

Karen A. Mann,

Biggest Tree Festival/Santa Claus Parade

Co-chair, vice-chair of Red Deer Festival of Trees