Entry deadline Friday for Santa's Light Parade

Sure it's late October, but preparations are well underway for one of Victoria's most beloved Christmas traditions: the annual Island Farms Santa's Light Parade.

The deadline for entries is creeping up - it's this Friday - and the parade itself is just a few weeks away, on Nov. 17.

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Ron Butlin of the Greater Victoria Festival Society, who organizes both the Christmas parade and its Victoria Day counterpart, said he has many high-calibre participants lined up but is looking for more. The last few Christmas parades have drawn about 60 entries.

"The entry forms are out there. We need to get them in," Butlin said.

A teeming crowd along the Government Street parade route is virtually assured, with last year's attendance estimated at about 70,000. Crowds have ballooned since Butlin decided to make the Christmas parade an evening event, complete with illuminated entries, 19 years ago.

Leading the 2012 procession will be the Lambrick Park Secondary School band, along with a truck from the Mustard Seed Food Bank.

As has become the custom, parade-goers are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items for collection by Mustard Seed volunteers.

The Greater Victoria Police Pipe Band will bring a musical element to the occasion.

Butlin said the parade has a solid group of entries from other Vancouver Island communities to go along with local support.

That includes a float from Mount Washington and participation from Nanaimo and Lake Cowichan.

Floats are always a highlight, Butlin said.

"We know that Rob Galey of Galey Farms has built another beautiful float, and so has Island Farms."

The parade starts at 6 p.m., and will go straight down Government from the legislature to Chatham Street. The popular children's event, featuring a chance for pictures with Santa, will be held post-parade in the Capital Iron parking lot on Chatham.

Call the Greater Victoria Festival Society at 250-3823111, or send a fax to 250382-3160.


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