Friday 24 November 2017

Accidental Holiday Celebration

Tonight it was just the two of us as our son is away at a tournament (and daughter at university), so being as it was Friday night, I suggested we go out for supper. I didn't much feel like making anything, and I didn't want anything fancy, just good food.

We decided to go to one of our usual "hole in the wall" favourite restaurants in a nearby small town. As we drove up, we noticed a lot more cars on the main street than usual. The Christmas lights along the street were already up and glowing, so we thought perhaps it was a lighting ceremony this evening.

We went in to find a spot to eat (it is not a huge restaurant, so if you don't make a reservation, you might be taking your chances). Luckily there was still a spot that wasn't reserved. We ordered a draft beer each and thought about what we would like. The roast beef and Yorkshire pudding was one of the specials, so husband ordered that. I second-guessed myself and ending up ordering the barbecue Cornish hen, and shouldn't have. It was ok, but not really what I was hankering for.

As we sat with our food, we heard other people talking and realized that this evening was going to be the annual Santa Claus parade. We were quite close to the window, so we could see the parade from our table. We finished and paid for our meal before the parade was over, so I took some pictures to give you an idea of what a typical small town / rural Santa Claus parade is like.

The quintessential shiny red fire truck had already gone through, so no picture of that. I also didn't get the local high school float of a handful of the kids in the band playing a Christmas carol or two. Thankfully, today was one of the mildest days (and evenings) we've had, so the onlookers, as well as the parade participants, weren't freezing. There have been many Santa Claus parades that required winter coats, snow pants, hats, mittens, boots, scarves, and a lot of stamping of feet or sitting in cars with the engine running and the heat on!

Here's a sampling from the end of the parade:

A flat bed trailer with a host of little kids dressed up (as toys??) and lights strung along the side.

There are always animals - this one being a donkey wearing, if I'm not mistaken, a tree skirt as a cape.

It wouldn't be Christmas without a goat wearing a shirt. I apologize for the blurry quality of some of these photos. Trust me, it's a goat.

Pretty self-explanatory. This is the same vet service that took care of Scooter when he had to have his tail amputated, and Samson when he accidentally got a stick caught in his throat. I think we helped pay for part of this float.

Here is a giant grocery cart (those are full sized humans inside) pulling a regular sized grocery cart. This particular small town lost its one and only grocery store several years ago when it closed up. Thankfully, a few years later, it reopened under a new company. A town without a grocery store just can't survive, especially for those who do not drive.

The theme for the parade this year must have been gingerbread because there were a lot of gingerbread people and gingerbread houses.

 I love the teams of heavy horses and the sound they make coming up the street.

Santa is always at the end of the parade. Although he is very blurry here, he was an excellent Santa with resounding "Ho, ho, ho's". You can see the Rotary Club symbols on his float.

When Santa had passed, husband and I walked to where we had parked the car and knew it would be a wait until we could pull out and proceed home (we were also on the main street). Here are some images of parade participants on their way home as well that I caught as we were waiting in our vehicle.

-a pretty horse and rider complete with Christmas lights

 - and another

-and just to one-up the goat, here is a Christmas sheep. Its owners shouted Merry Christmas to us as we put the window down to take the picture.

Also in this community is a little store which always has a charming window display with moving figures. Last year's was featured in this post, but I think this year's is much more quaint. The mice moved as they decorated their little home.

Now we are home and the wind is just howling outside, although no snow is in the air. I have taken the advice of some of you wonderful readers and have begun to watch River on Netflix. I love it already! I even talked husband into watching with me and he concurs.

I hope you liked the glimpse of small town Ontario's early Christmas celebration. It is no "Macy's Day Parade", but it's predictable and hokey, and everybody waves and smiles. I know that many of you are celebrating your American Thanksgiving this weekend. I hope it has been lovely so far!


  1. Jenn, There's more small towns than big seeing what goes on in them is exciting especially for the children. But then you had dinner and a show , of sorts. The power and light men were hanging Christmas lights and banner around our town last week. the park will be decorated, I should get some photos. I do love to see horse in parades. Blessings, xoxo, Susie

  2. You have such a way with writing, I felt like I was in this small town for the parade. Not sure, as an American, if donkeys and goats are usually in parades! The grocery cart was funny. We had 2 stores in the small town where we have a lakehouse. The better one closed, leaving the smaller and not-so-desirable one only because it was a small chain. I drive 40 minutes to get to ne that has a small bakery and deli.

    It's very difficult for me to get hubby out for dinner and I simply love it. He's always tired after work and wants to chill on weekends. :(

    I'll have to check out The River.

    Happy Weekend, Jenn!

    Jane x

  3. That was a nice surprise to accompany your meal. I've seen donkeys in our Christmas parades but never a goat! Love the giant shopping cart too.

  4. What a bonus you were able to be inside & yet still enjoy the Santa parade. I always like the animals in the parades although I'm not so sure they enjoy themselves. Our village parade is The Farmer's Parade of Lights, with all the farm equipment decorated - Santa arrives on the big combine - it's Dec 14th. ... Mary-Lou =^..^=

  5. We don't have our local one until the 12th

  6. Looks a lot like our small town Christmas parade. Later in December Santa will visit all the neighborhoods riding on a fire truck.

  7. Awwww. I love the small town Christmas parades. The one nearest us is in the day, and the floats throw candy to the children.

  8. LOVE small town parades! Pembroke starts in about half an hour!

  9. Markham's Parade was today and my grandkids were on a float. I didn't go but I bet they had fun!

  10. Oh, what fun! Dinner and a show :)

    You know, sometimes those "hole in the wall" restaurants are the most enjoyable.

  11. how fun! What fortuitous timing on your parts!

  12. Thanks bunches for the peek at the little hometown parade. I thought it looked very festive and you could tell a lot of work went into it! Ours is much the same and although my husband thinks it should be in December rather than Thanksgiving Weekend (I mean, shouldn't Santa be home at the North Pole supervising all those elves busily getting the toys ready for Christmas?), I think it does help put everyone into the mood for the holiday season.

  13. Small town life is always so much better than city life in my opinion! That parade would have been fun for us too. :)

  14. Predictable and hokey? Maybe but I think maybe not. It's filled with love and participation and imagination and great spirit -- and probably done with no Macy-budget! I think you had the perfect seat and I would have loved to have seen that very same parade myself!

  15. You had great seating to watch the parade. I love heavy horses, and all the animals and floats.