Christmas has officially started to ring it’s bells as family with children of all ages got to enjoy the thrill of the coming season celebrated perfectly on National Child Day! There’s no place like Thompson when it comes to a community wide participate for the joy of others where the sacrifices made were well worth the gathered smiles.
On November 25th not only did we all begin our ‘one month Holiday Advent Calendars’, but we kicked off the Christmas spirit with a massive Santa Parade and numerous fun filled activities, arts, crafts, and even musical entertainment at the Thompson Regional Community Center (TRCC) building.
The growth of these community events have rapidly grown over the years as the Santa Parade hit a record breaking 42 float entries. This soaring beyond other years, featuring over 300 kids and youth waving and throwing candy to all the anticipated Thompsonites.
A thought that started off simple enough years ago; Santa riding on a makeshift tracker covered slay, became an instant sensation, giving only few years after added attractions and floats to form a town wide parade riding along from Cree Rd to City Hall where the National Child Day activities were being held at the time.
Before long the attendance grew beyond City Hall and moved to TRCC. This proved to be in the benefit of the Santa Parade as well as it made way for a longer stretch to end at the TRCC building.
In 2020, like everything else Globally, the Christmas festivities were closed down giving a pause that would make for an extra busy year to come. When November came around in 2021 the parade entries grew beyond it’s previous route as the Santa Parade route has now since stretched from Princeton Dr. All the way over to the TRCC Building.
Bobbi Montean has organized the Santa Parade for eight years now as in 2015 talk of cancelling the parade circled the City counsel for reasons of being understaffed and below the minimum quantity of entries. This caused an uproar among the people as volunteers came out of the woodwork and new leadership rested on the shoulders of Montean.
Within the short time frame of only two weeks the community group extended lots of heart and passion into the event, dividing jobs accordingly.
This year was certainly no exception as high reviews continue to peak on the community social media; “Out of all the communities we’ve ever been in there is no community that provides for the people like Thompson” says Janie Madison, mother of two kids and long time local Northern resident.
This statement was shown to be extra true as signs were posted on numerous businesses reading that they were closed for the day to participate in the parade.
Gateway Bible Church gave out 9.5 gallons (35.9 Litres) of complementary Hot Chocolate and over 200 candy canes to the gathered chilled bodies.
With snow steadily falling and a temperature just a few degrees below zero, Saturday afternoon was a perfect day for spectators to take in the Santa Parade, followed by the the lighting of the TRCC Christmas tree.
Of course the hype did not subside with the tossing of the final float candy, TRCC housed a number of people beyond capable rein-check, guessing that well over 1,000 people attended to join in the festivity fun.
The Hello Parents Network of Thompson are to thank for such an incredible display of Holiday passion from the decorations peppered in every direction to the creative ways to make get all ages eager to join in.
Staring off with a bang, the Christmas tree countdown declared the Christmas season making way for musical performance of the familiar Holiday favourites. While the music resounded your hearts desire was at the tips of your fingers ranging anywhere from getting Christmas family photos, to playing indoor mini golf.
Do you enjoy skating as much as the next Canadian? Then Family Skate was there for you! For the kids, or even the kids at heart who have a special letter written to Santa, there was a special mail service capable of reaching the North Pole with your requests. Air Brush painters created art of your choice making kids tattoos, or crafts dedicated for the independent creators.
An incredible display such as this shows yet another heartbeat into the community’s desire for families to have the time to join together and laugh together. Here comes Christmas once again.
~Matthias J. Johnson is a Local Journalism Initiative reporter who works out of the Thompson Citizen. The Local Journalism Initiative is funded by the Government of Canada.