You better watch out, you better not cry. You better not pout, I’m telling you why… Actually, you have all the reason to do the opposite: Santa Claus might not be coming to Vancouver three weeks early this year for his annual early-December parade.
Organizers of the annual Vancouver Santa Claus Parade, the city’s second largest parade after the the Pride Parade, say their event is facing cancellation this year due to a lack of funds.
Rogers Communications, the parade’s longtime title sponsor, has dropped out of the event, causing a budget shortfall of $150,000.
The entire event costs $400,000 to annually produce, which includes policing, float construction, production, and marketing. Its 60 festive entrants and nearly 3,000 participants, culminating with the iconic Santa Claus float, attracts approximately 300,000 spectators to the streets of downtown Vancouver each year.
“After 13 years together, we’ve got an amazing team of sponsors, organizers, float builders and volunteers in place to put on the parade,” said Jessica Walker, president of the non-profit society that organizes the event, in a statement.
“If we want to keep the parade as an annual event, we definitely need some help, and we need it right away. If we cannot bring on additional sponsors in the next two weeks, we’ll be forced to cancel the parade.”
A cancellation of the event could also put a dent in the operations of the Greater Vancouver Food Bank Society ahead of the busy Christmas season. The food bank has received $157,000 in cash donations and 77,000 lb of food from parade attendees over the last 13 years.
The society’s current sponsors include Purdy’s Chocolates, Toys ‘R Us, Island Farms, Vancouver International Airport, Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, Port of Vancouver, Starbucks, and the Downtown Vancouver Business Improvement Association.
Currently, the Santa Claus Parade is scheduled for Sunday, December 3.
Anyone interested in sponsoring this year’s parade is asked to contact Pace Group at 604-646-3591 or [email protected]
If cancelled, the parade would be the second major event to be axed this holiday season. Earlier this fall, organizers of Enchant Christmas Light Maze and Market cancelled their Vancouver event as they were unable to find a new larger and suitable site.
And in March, CelticFest Vancouver cut back on their festival programming by cancelling the St. Patrick’s Day Parade due to frequent weather challenges and declining sponsorship.