As the holiday season shifts into full gear, community businesses and volunteers are organizing festive celebrations for families to enjoy. In Bedford, an estimated 30,000 residents will come out to see their piece of the highway lit up with holiday cheer.
Right up there with the Christmas tree and mall Santa, parades have always been a holiday staple.
The Light Up Bedford Parade has become an HRM favourite and this year with more floats than ever, the parade committee promises a night to remember.
"It's looking very, very good," said committee chair Barb Hooper. "We're supposed to have a maximum of 30, but this year I think we're already at 35. It's going to be bigger and better than ever."
Organizers have been lighting up Bedford since 1998, bringing residents out to usher in the festive season and to share with people who aren't as fortunate as themselves. That first year 1,500 lbs of food was collected and $450 was raised. Last year, parade goers brought not only food, but toys for the Cobequid Toy Drive and nearly $5,000 for the Turkey Club (www.turkeyclub.org)
Hooper, who has been chairing the parade committee for five years, said that although they are pretty to look at, the truth is that lights are necessary if you're planning an evening parade in Bedford.
"The Bedford Highway is very dark and if you're not lit up you just won't be seen," she said.
In order to be in the parade, entrees must have at least 1,000 lights on their float. Even people who are walking in the parade have to be lit.
"Sometimes we have people trying to sneak in with just a glow stick," said Hooper. "We've even had people from the Halifax parade ask to be in it, but we have to say no."
This year the parade is being held on Nov. 18 and because of construction in the area and the shear size of some of the floats, the route has changed. The floats will still leave from Bedford Place Mall but instead of stopping at DeWolfe Park, the parade will carry on to Sobeys on the Bedford Highway.
Hooper would like to remind parents of the hot spots along the route where they can enjoy hot drinks and cookies and to remind the children to bring their letters to Santa.
Other holiday parades in HRM include:
Downtown Halifax on Nov. 17
Beaver Bank Parade of Lights on Nov. 25
Fall River Lions Christmas Parade on Nov. 25 (afternoon)