The annual Santa Claus Parade drew upwards of 25,000 attendees to downtown Kamloops on Sunday, organizers say, and they have a few adjustments already eyed to improve the popular event next year.
Howie Reimer, executive director of the Kamloops Central Business Improvement Association, said the parade saw a large turnout, estimating it was comparable to last year’s attendance.
“It's always hard to estimate crowd size, but it looked similar to last year and we've estimated probably around 25,000 to 30,000 people,” he said.
The parade was also live-streamed on the KCBIA Facebook and Youtube pages and in the Paramount Theatre, amassing approximately 5,000 viewers, according to Reimer.
He said while the streets were packed, an expansion of the parade route is unlikely because it would also lengthen the time the event runs.
“We want it to be between an hour and 15 minutes and an hour and a half, and it just topped off. But, as Kamloops grows, maybe we'll have to rethink it,” Reimer said.
“You want to make sure that safety is still paramount, you want to make sure that your traffic plan is executed properly and we certainly did have some challenges in that regard.”
Reimer said the parade had 60 floats partake in the parade, but said he’d like to see more floats going forward.
“Nothing against the walking groups, but they're a little harder to see if you're two or three rows back so if you've got something a little more elevated, like a float, that's usually a little better,” he said.
Reimer said he thought the livestream was experimental but ended up working really well. Reimer said he’d like to see mobile cameras used for the livestream to better “capture the magic” of the event.
“I think it would be nice to have a camera operator where we might be able to get cutaway for some close up shots, I think the faces of the participants and the spectators and the kids who are watching,” he said.
Reimer said the one thing that “certainly frustrated” him this year were the gaps in the parade.
“Coming from a broadcasting background, nobody likes dead air and I'd like to tighten that up,” said Reimer.
“That comes down to marshalling and a little more co-ordination in that regard.”
Reimer said overall he thought the parade went well and said a lot of work goes into creating the community event.
“A lot of the people are in this to create an event for our community, to have a shared experience, and particularly after the pandemic to get community back together,” he said.
“The people that made it happen, from the organizers, to the volunteers, to the sponsors and to the spectators, for having the faith and the confidence to come downtown, it's something that's quite heartwarming.”